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600064085T 










ROLAND YORKE. 

3i flobcL 

BY MRS. HENRY WOOD, 

AUTHOR OF " EAST LYNNE," " THE CHANNINCS," ETC 



" Aod Deering's Woods are fresh and fair, 
And wiin joy thai j£ almost pain 
My heart Eoca back ig m'ander tocte. 
And among ihc dreams of iht days that Wl 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. I. 




LONDON: 
RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET. 



[All rigili resertud.] 



JJ'o- JC^} 



CONTENTS OF VOL. L 



PROLOGUK 



I. IN THE MOONLIGHT . 
IL "UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING • 
in. BEFORE THE COBONER . • 

IV. GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS . 

V. MB. BXTTTERBY IN PBTVATE UFB 
VI. GODFBET PITMAN 



PAOB 

I 

21 
42 
70 
89 
III 



PART THE SECOND. 

THE STOBY. 

Vn. IN THE OFFICE I34 

Vm. ABBTVAL FBOM POBT NATAL . . . . I56 

IX. UNEXPECTED MEETINGS 177 

X. GOING INTO SOCIETY 211 

XL DAY DBEAMS 24O 

Xn. COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE OF GBEATOBEX 

AND GBEATOBEX 265 

Xin. TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF .... 287 



ROLAND YORKE, 



PROLOGUE. 



CHAPTER L 

IN THE MOONLIGHT. 

The scene of this Prologue to the story about 
to be written was a certain cathedral-town, 
of which most of you have heard before, and 
the time close upon midnight. 

It was a warm night at the beginning of 
March. The air was calm and still ; the bright 
moon was shedding her pure light with un- 
usual brilliancy on the city, lying direct un- 
derneath her beams. On the pinnacles of the 
time-honoured cathedral; on the church-sp;re, 
whose tapering height has made itself a 
name ; on the clustering roofs of houses ; on 
the trees of what people are pleased to call 
the Park ; on the river, silently winding its 
course along beneath the city walls ; and on 

VOL. I. 1 



2 ROLAND YORKE. 

the white pavement of its streets : all were 
steeped in the soft and beautiful light of the 
Queen of Night. 

Surely at that late hour people ought to 
have been asleep in their beds, and the town 
hushed to silence ! Not so. A vast number 
of men — and women too, for the matter of 
that — were awake and abroad. At least, it 
looked a good number, stealing quietly in one 
direction along the principal street. A few 
persons, comparatively speaking, assembled to- 
gether by daylight, will look like a crowd at 
night. They went along for the most part in 
silence, one group glancing round at another, 
and being glanced at, back again : whether 
drawn out by curiosity, by sympathy, by 
example, all seemed very much as if they 
were half ashamed to be seen there. 

Straight through the town, past the new 
law-courts, past the squares and the good 
houses built in more recent years, past the 
pavements and the worn highway, telling of a 
city's bustle, into the open country, to where 
a churchyard abuts upon a side-road. A 
rural, not much frequented churchyard, dotted 
with old graves, its small, grey church stand- 
ing in the middle. People were not buried 
there now. On one side of the churchyard, 
open to the side way, the boundary hedge had 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 3 

disappeared, partly through neglect. The 
entrance was on the other side, facing the 
city ; and where was the use of raising up 
again the trodden-down hedge, destroyed 
gradually and in process of time by boys and 
girls at play ? So, at least, argued the au- 
thorities — when they argued about it at all. 

People were not buried there now : and yet 
a grave was being dug. At the remotest cor- 
ner of this open side of the churchyard, so 
close to the consecrated ground that you could 
scarcely tell whether they were on it or off it, 
two men with torches were working at the 
nearly finished, shallow, hastily-made grave. 
A pathway, made perhaps of custom more 
than of plan, led right over it into the 
churchyard — if any careless person chose to en- 
ter it by so unorthodox a route — and the com- 
mon side-road, wide enough to admit of carts 
and other vehicles, crdssed it on the exact 
spot where the grave was being dug. So that 
a spectator might have said the grave's des- 
tined occupant was to lie in a cross-road. 

Up to this spot came the groups, winding 
round the front hedge silently, save from that 
inevitable hum which attends a number, their 
footsteps grating and shuffling on the still air. 
That there was some kind of reverence attach- 
ing to the feeling in general, was proved by the 



4 ROLAND YORKE. 

absence of all jokes and light words ; it may- 
be almost said by the absence of conversation 
altogether, for what little they said was 
spoken in whispers. The open space beyond 
the grave was a kind of common, stretching 
out into the country, so that there was room 
and to spare for these people to congregate 
around, without pressing inconveniently on 
the sides of the shallow grave. Not but what 
every soul went close to give a look in, taking 
a longer or shorter time in the gaze as curi- 
osity was slow or quick to satisfy itself. 

The men threw out the last spadeful, patted 
the sides well, and ascended to the level of 
earth. Not a minute too soon. As they 
stamped their feet, like men who have been 
in a cramped position, and put their tools 
away back, the clock of the old grey church 
struck twelve. It was a loud striker at all 
times ; it soimded like a gong in the stillness 
of the night, and a movement ran through 
the startled spectators. 

With the first stroke of the clock there 
came up a wayfarer. Some traveller who had 
missed his train at Bromsgrove, and had to 
Avalk the distance. He advanced with a 
jaunty though somewhat tired step along the 
highway, and did not discern the crowd until 
close upon them, for the road wound just 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 5 

there. To say that he was astonished would 
be saying Kttle. He stood stUl, and stared, 
and rubbed his eyes, ahnost questioning whe- 
ther the unusual scene could be real. 

" What on earth's the matter T demanded 
he of some one near him. " What does it all 
mean T 

The man addressed turned at the question, 
and recognised the speaker for Mr. Richard 
Jones, an inhabitant of the town. At least 
he was nearly sure it was he, but he knew 
him by sight but shghtly. If it was Mr. 
Jones, why this same crowd aad commotion 
had to do with him, in one sense of the word. 
Its cause had a great deal to do with his 
home. 

"Can't you answer a body?" continued 
Mr. Jones, finding he got no reply. 

" Hush !" breathed the other man. " Look 
there." 

Along the middle of the turnpike-road, on 
their way from the city, came eight men with 
measured and even tread, bearing a coffin on 
their shoulders. It was covered with what 
looked like a black cloth shawl, whose woollen 
fringe was clearly discernible in the moon- 
light. Mr. Jones had halted at the turning 
up to the churchyard, where he first saw the 
assembly of people; consequently the men 



6 BOLAND YORKE. 

bearing the coflSn, whose heavy tread and 
otherwise silent presence seemed to exhale a 
kind of unpleasant thrill, passed round by Mr. 
Jones, nearly touching him. 

"What is it?" he repeated in a few se- 
conds, nearly wild to have his understanding 
enlightened. 

" Don't you see what it is ? — a coffin. It's 
going to be buried in that there cross grave 
up yonder." 

" But who is in the coffin V 

" A gentleman who died by his own hand. 
The jiuy brought it in self-murder, and so he's 
got to be put away without burial service." 

" Lawk a mercy !" exclaimed Mr. Jones, 
who though a light, shallow, imstable man, 
given to make impromptu excursions from his 
home and wife, and to spend too much money 
in doing it, was not on the whole a bad- 
hearted one. " Poor gentleman ! Who was 
it?" 

" One of them law men in wigs that come 
in to the 'sizes." 

Mr. Jones might have asked more but for 
two reasons. The first was, that his neigh- 
bour moved away in the wake of those who 
were beginning to press forward to see as 
much as they could get to see of the closing 
ceremony ; the next was, that in a young wo- 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 7 

man who just then walked past him, he re- 
cognised his wife's sister. Again Mr. Jones 
rubbed his eyes, mentally questioning whether 
this second vision might be real. For she. 
Miss Rye, was a steady, good, superior yoimg 
woman, not at all likely to come out of her 
home at midnight after a sight of any sort, 
whether it might be a burjdng or a wedding. 
Mr. Jones really doubted whether his sight 
and the moonlight had not played him false. 
The shortest way to solve this doubt would 
have been to accost the young woman, but 
while he had been wondering, she disappeared. 
In truth it was Miss Rye, and she had fol- 
lowed the coffin from whence it was brought, 
as a vast many more had followed it. Not mix- 
ing with them ; walking apart and alone close 
to the houses, in the deep shade cast by their 
walls. She was a comely young woman of 
about seven-and-twenty, tall and fair, with 
steady blue eyes, good features, and a sensible 
countenance. In deep mourning for her mo- 
ther, she wore on this night a black merino 
dress, soft and fine, and a black shawl trimmed 
with crape, that she held closely round her. 
But she had disappeared ; and amidst so 
many Mr. Jones thought it would be useless 
to go looking for her. 

A certain official personage or two, perhaps 



8 ROLAND YORKE. 

deputies from the coroner, or from the parish, 
or from the undertaker furnishing the coffin 
and the two sets of bearers — who can tell ? — 
whose mission it was to see the appointed 
proceedings carried out, cleared by their hands 
and gestures a space aroimd the grave. The 
people fell back obediently. They pressed 
and elbowed each other no doubt, and grum- 
bled at others crushing them ; but they kept 
themselves back in their places. A small 
knot, gentlemen evidently, and probably 
friends of the deceased, were allowed to ap- 
proach the grave. The grave-diggers stood 
near, holding the torches. But for those 
flaring torches, the crowd would have seen 
better : they saw well enough, however, in the 
bright moonlight. 

In the churchyard, having taken up his 
station there behind an upright tombstone, 
where tombstones were thick, stood an officer 
connected with the police. He was in plain 
clothes — in fact, nobody remembered to have 
seen him in other ones — and had come out to- 
night not officially but to gratify himself per- 
sonally. Ensconced behind the stone, away 
from everybody, he could look on at leisure 
through its upper fretwork and take his own 
observations, not only of the ceremony about to 
be performed, but of those who were attending 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 9 

it. He was a middle-sized, spare man, with a 
pale face, deeply sunk green eyes, that had a 
habit of looking steadily at people, and a 
small, sharp, tumed-up nose. Silent by 
nature and by habit, he imparted the idea of 
possessing a vast amount of astute keenness 
as a detector of crime : in his own opinion he 
had not in that respect an equal Nobody 
could discern him, looking on, and he did not 
intend they should. 

Amidst a dead silence, save for the creak- 
ing of the cords, amidst a shiver of sympathy, 
of pity, of awfiil thoughts from a great many 
of the spectators, the black covering was 
thrown aside and the coffin was lowered. 
There was a general lifting off of hats; a 
pause; and then a rush. One in the front 
rank — a fat woman, who had fought for her 
place — stepped forward in her irrepressible 
curiosity to take a last look inside the grave ; 
another followed her ; the movement was 
contagious, and there was a commotion. 
Upon which the men holding the torches 
swept them round; it threw out the flame 
rather dangerously, and the rushers drew hack 
again with a half cry. Not quite all A few, 
more adventurous than the rest, slipped roimd 
to the safer side, and were in time to read the 
inscription on the lid : 



10 ROLAND YORKE. 

^^JOHN OLLIVERA. 
Aged 28." 

Short enough, and simple enough, for the 
sad death. Only a moment after the cords 
were drawn away did it remain visible; for 
the gravediggers, flinging their torches aside, 
threw in the earth, spadeful upon spadeful, 
and covered it up from sight. 

The shallow grave was soon filled in; the 
gravediggers flattened it down level with 
spades and feet : no ceremony accorded, you 
see, to such an end as this poor man had 
made. Before it was quite accomplished, 
those officiallv connected with the burial, or 
with the buried, left the ground and departed. 
Not so the mob of people : they stayed to see 
the last ; and would have stayed had it been 
imtil morning light. And they talked freely 
now, one with another, but were orderly and 
subdued still. 

Mr. Jones stayed. He had not mixed with 
the people, but stood apart in the chiu:chyard, 
under the shade of the great yew-tree. Soon 
he began to move away, and came unex- 
pectedly upon the detective officer standing 
yet behind the gravestone. Mr. Jones halted 
in surprise. 

'' HaUoa !" cried he. '' Mr. Butterby I" 

"Just look at them idiots!" rejoined Mr. 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 11 

» 

Butterby, with marked composure, as if he 
had seen Richard Jones from- the first, and 
expected the address. " So you are back !" 
he added, turning his. head sharply on the 
traveller. 

" I come in from Bromsgrove on my legs ; 
missed the last train there," said Mr. Jones, 
rather addicted to a free-and-easy kmd of 
grammar in private life : as indeed was the 
renowned gentleman he spoke to. " When I 
got past the last turning and see these here 
folks, I thought the world must be gone 
mad." 

*^ Did you come back on account of it T 
asked Mr. Butterby. "Did they write for 
you r 

" On account of what ? As to writing for 
me, they'd be clever to do that, seeing I left 
'em no address to write to. I have been going 
about from place to place; to-day there, to- 
morrow yonder." 

" On account of that" answered the detec- 
tive, nodding his head in the direction of the 
grave, to which the men were then giving the 
last finishing strokes and treads of flattening. 

To Mr. Jones's ear there was something so 
obscure in the words that he only stared at 
their speaker, almost wondering whether the 
grave ofl&cer had condescended to a joke. 



12 ROLAND YORKE. 

" I don't iinderstand you, sir." 

Mr. Butterby saw at once how the matter 
stood : that Dicky Jones — ^the familiar title 
mostly axjcorded Mm in the city-waa igno- 
rant of recent events. 

"The poor imfortimate man just put in 
there, Jones '' — ^with another nod to the grave 
— " was Mr. Ollivera, the coimsel." 

"Mr. Ollivera!" exclaimed the startled 
Jones. 

" And he took his life away at your house." 

" Lawk a mercy !" cried Mr. Jones, repeat- 
ing his favourite expression, one he was ad- 
dicted to when overwhelmed with surprise. 
'' Whatever did he do it for ?" 

" Ah, that's just what we can't telL Per- 
haps he didn't know himself what." 

" How was it, sir ? Poison ?" 

" Shot himself with his own pistol," briefly 
responded the officer. 

" And did it knowingly ? — intentional ?" 

" Intentional for sure, or he'd not have 
been put in there to-night. They couldn't 
have buried a dog with much less ceremony." 

" Well, I never knew such a thing as this," 
cried Mr. Jones, scarcely taking in the news 
yet. " When I went away Mr. Ollivera hadn't 

come; he was expected; and my wife 

HaUoa !" 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 13 

The cause of the concluding exclamation 
was a new surprise, as great as any the 
speaker had met with yet. Mr. Butterby, his 
keen eyes strained forward from their enclosed 
depths, touched him on the arm with autho- 
rity to enjoin silence. 

The young woman — it would be no offence 
against taste to caU her a lady, with her good 
looks, her good manners, her usually calm de- 
meanour — ^whom Mr. Jones had recognised as 
his wife's sister, had come forward to the 
grave. Kneeling down, she bent her face in 
her hands, perhaps praying; then lifted it, 
rose, and seemed about to address the crowd. 
Her hands were clasped and raised before her; 
her bonnet had faUen back from her face and 
her bright flaxen hair. 

''It is AUetha Rye, isn't it, sir ?" he du- 
biously cried. 

" Hold your noise !'' said Mr. Butterby. 

" I think it would be a wicked thing to let 
you disperse this night with a false belief on 
your minds," began Miss Rye, her clear voice 
sounding quite loud and distinct in the 
hushed silence. " Wicked in the sight of 
God ; unkind and unjust to the dead. Listen 
to my words,, please, all you who hear me. I 
believe that a dreadful injury has been thrown 
upon Mr. Ollivera s memory ; I solemnly be- 



14 ROLAND YORKE. 

lieve that he did not die by his oivn hand. 
Heaven hears me assert it." 

The solemn tone, the strange words, the 
fair appearance of the young woman, with her 
good and refined face, deathly pale now, and 
the moonlight playing on her light hair, awed 
the listeners into something like statues. The 
silence continued unbroken until Miss Rye 
moved away, which she did at once and with 
a rather quick step in the direction of the 
road, pulling her bonnet on her head as she 
went, drawing her shawl round her. Even 
Mr. Jones made neither sound nor movement 
until she had disappeared, so entire was his 
astonishment. 

" Was there ever heard the like of that ?" 
he exclaimed, when he at length drew breath. 
^^ Do you think she's off her head, sir ?" 

He received no answer, and tinned to look 
at Mr. Butterby. That gentleman had his 
note-book out, and was pencilling something 
down in it by moonlight. 

" I never see such a start as this — take it 
for all in all,'' continued Mr. Jones to himself 
and the air, thus thrown upon his own com- 
panionship. 

" And I'd not swear that you've seen the 
last of it," remarked Mr. Butterby, closing 
his note-case with a chck. 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 15 

" Well, sir, good-niglit to you," concluded 
Mr. Jones. "I must make my way home 
afore the house is locked up, or I shall get a 
wigging from my wife. Sure to get that in 
any case, now this has happened," he con- 
tinued, ruefully. " She'll say I'm always away 
when I'm wanted at home in particular." 

He went lightly enough over the graves to 
the opposite and more frequented side of the 
churchyard, thus avoiding the assemblage ; 
and took his departure. There being nothing 
more to see, the people began to take theirs. 
Having gazed their fill at the grave — just as 
if the silent, undemonstrative earth could 
give them back a response — they slowly made 
their way down the side-path to the high road, 
and turned towards the city, one group after 
another. 

By one o'clock the last straggler had gone, 
and Mr. Butterby came forth from his post 
behind the sheltering gravestone. He had his 
reasons, perhaps, for remaining behind the rest, 
and for wishing to walk home alone. 

However that might be, he gave their pro- 
gress a good margin of space, for it was ten 
minutes past one when he turned out of the 
churchyard. He had just gained the houses, 
when he saw before him a small knot of peo- 
ple emerge from a side-turning, as if they had 



16 ROLAND YORKIE. 

not taken the direct route in coming from the 
heart of the city. Mr. Butterby recognised 
one or two of them, and whisked into a 
friendly doorway imtil they had passed by. 

Letting them get on well ahead, he turned 
back and followed in their wake. That they 
were on their way to the grave, appeared evi- 
dent : and the acute officer wondered why. 
A thought crossed him that possibly they 
might be about to take up what had been laid 
there. 

He went into the churchyard by the front 
gate, and made his way cautiously across it, 
keeping under the shadow of the grey church 
walls. Thence, stooping as he crossed the 
open ground, and dodging behind first one 
grave then another, he took up his former ^ 
position against the high stone. They were 
at the grave now, and he began to deliberate 
whether, if his thought should prove correct, 
he should or should not oificially interrupt 
proceedings. Getting his eyes to the open 
fretwork of the stone, Mr. Butterby looked 
out. And what he saw struck him with a 
surprise equal to any recently exhibited by 
Mr. Jones : he, the experienced police official, 
who knew the world so thoroughly as to be 
surprised at little or nothing. 

Standing at the head of the grave was a 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 17 

clergyman in his surplice and hood. Four 
men were grouped aroimd him, one of whom 
held a lantern so that its light fell upon the 
clergyman's book. He was beginning to read 
the burial service. They stood with bowed 
heads, their hats off. The night had grown 
cold, but Mr. Butterby took off his. 

" I am the resurrection and the life, saith 
the Lord : he that beheveth in me, though 
he were dead, yet shaU he live : and whoso- 
ever liveth and beheveth in me shall never 
die." 

The solemn words, doubly solemn at that 
time and place, came distinctly to the official 
ears. Perhaps in aU the times he had heard 
them during his whole life — ^many and many 
that it had been — they had never so im- 
pressed him. But habit is strong ; and Mr. 
Butterby found himself taking observations 
ere the psalm had well commenced, even while 
he was noticing how heartily the alternate 
verses were given by the spectators. 

Three of them around the grave he recog- 
nised; the other one and the clergyman he 
did not. Of those three, one was a tall fine 
man of forty years, Kene, the barrister ; the 
next was a cousin of the deceased, Frank 
Greatorex, whom Mr. Butterby only knew by 

VOL. I. 2 



18 ROLAND YORKE. 

seeing him in the inquest-room, where he ten- 
dered some sKght evidence ; the third was a 
gentleman of the city. Neither the clergy- 
man nor the one who held the light did Mr. 
Butterby remember to have seen before. The 
elder and other cousin of the deceased was 
not present, though Mr. Butterby looked for 
him ; he had been the principal witness on the 
inquest — Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

The officer could but notice also how singu- 
larly solenm, slow, and impressive was the 
clergyman's voice as he read those portions of 
the service that relate more particularly to 
the deceased and the faith in which he has 
died. " In sure and certain hope of the Re- 
surrection to eternal life.'' He ahnost made 
a pause between each word, as if he would 
impress on his hearers that it was his own 
belief the deceased had so died. And again, 
" Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." 
And towards the end, in the collect, in the 
beseeching prayer that when we depart this 
life we may rest in Christ, " as our hope is 
this our brother doth." It was not to be mis- 
taken that the clergyman, at least, held firm 
faith in the absence of guUt of the deceased 
in regard to his own death. As indeed the 
reading of the service over him proved. 

With the Amen of the concluding bene- 



IN THE MOONLIGHT. 19 

diction, there ensued a silence ; every head 
was bowed in prayer. The clergyman was the 
first to look up. He waited until the rest 
did. 

" Allow me to say a word ere we depart/' 
he began then, in a low tone ; which never- 
theless quick-eared Mr. Butterby distinctly 
caught. " From the bottom of my heart, I 
believe a foul deed of murder to have been 
committed on my good and dear brother. It 
shall be the business of my life to endeavour 
to bring it to light, to clear his name from 
the cruel stain pronounced upon it ; and my 
whole time, apart from what must be spent 
in my appointed duties, shall be devoted to 
this end. So help me. Heaven !'' 

*^Amen!" responded the yoimg man who 
stood by Mr. Kene. 

" So ! he's the deceased man's brother," was 
Mr. Butterby's comment on the clergyman, 
as he saw him take off his surplice and roU 
it up. 

Blowing out the light ia the lantern, they 
sUently took their departure. Mr. Butterby 
watched them away, and then finally took his, 
his mind in full work. 

" Just the same thing that the girl, AUetha 
Rye, said ! It's odd. I didn't see any doubt 
about the business : in spite of what Kene 

2—2 



20 ROLAND YORKE. 

said at the inquest ; neither did the coroner ; 
and I'm sure the jury didn't. Dicky Jones 
was right, though. Take it for all in all, it's 
the queerest start we Ve had in this town for 
many a day." 



CHAPTER 11. 

UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 

On the Saturday previous to the events re- 
corded in the last chapter, the cathedral city 
had been the scene of unusual bustle. The 
judges came in from Oxford to hold the Spring 
Assize, bringing in their wake the customary 
multiplicity of followers : attendants, officers, 
barristers, and others. Some of the witnesses 
in the different cases to be tried, civil and 
criminal, also came ia that day, to remain 
imtU they should be wanted the following 
week : so that the town was fulL 

Amidst the barristers who arrived was Mr. 
Ollivera. He was a yoimg man ; and it was 
only the second time he had come on circuit. 
After leaving college he had travelled a good 
deal, and also sojourned iq different foreign 
countries, acquiring legal experience, and did 
not take up his profession at home as early as 
some do. A fresh-coloured, pleasing, bright 



22 ROLAND YORKE. 

looking man was he, his curly hair of a light 
auburn, his eyes blue, his figure elastic and 
of middle height. All the world liked John 
Ollivera. He was essentially of a pra<5tical 
nature, of soimd sense, of pure mind and 
habits, holding a reverence for all things holy; 
and in every respect just the last man who 
could have been suspected of a tendency to 
%™lent hands onLnaatt 

He had written to secure his former lodg- 
ings at Mr. Jones's in High Street, and pro- 
ceeded to them at once on arriving at the 
station. It was the third time he had lodged 
there. At the previous assizes in July he had 
gone there first : and the whole of the month 
of October, during the long vacation, he had 
been there again, having, as people supposed, 
taken a liking to the town. So that this was 
the third time. 

He got in between six and seven on the 
Saturday evening. Ordered tea and two 
mutton chops, which were got for him at 
once ; and then went out to pay a visit to a 
lady who lived within the precincts of the 
cathedral. She was a widow; her husband. 
Colonel Joliffe, having died about a year be- 
fore, leaving her with a slender income and 
three expensive daughters. During the colo- 
nel's lifetime they had lived in good style, about 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 23 

two miles from the town; but a great part of 
his means died with him, and Mrs. JoHffe then 
took a small house in the city and had to re- 
trench in all ways. Which was a terrible 
mortification to the yoimg ladies. 

To this lady's house Mr. OUivera took his 
way when his frugal tea-dinner was over. He 
spent a couple of hours with them, and then re- 
turned to his rooms and got out his law papers, 
over which he remained until twelve o'clock, 
when he went to bed. He occupied the draw- 
ing-room, which was on the first floor over the 
shop, and looked to the street ; and the bed- 
room behind it. On the followiQg day, Sun- 
day, he attended early prayers in the cathe- 
dral at eight o'clock, staying to partake of the 
Sacrament, and also the later service at eleven, 
when the judges and corporation were present. 
In the afternoon he attended the cathedral 
again, going to it with the Miss Joliffes ; 
dined at home at five, which was also Mrs. 
Joltffe's dinner hour, and spent the rest of the 
evening at her house. Mrs. Jones, his land- 
lady, who had a vast amount of shrewd obser- 
vation — ^and a shrewd tongue too on occasions, 
as well as a sharp one — ^gave it as her opinion 
that he must be courting one of the Miss 
Joliffes. He had been with them a little in 
his few days sojourn at the July assizes, and 



24 BOLAND YOBKE. 

a great deal with them during his stay in 
October. 

On Monday morning the trials commenced, 
and Mr. Ollivera, though he had no cause on, 
was in court a great portion of the day. He 
left it in the afternoon, telling Mr. Kene that 
he had an appointment for half-past three, a 
disagreeable commission that had been en- 
trusted to him, he added, and must go and 
keep it. About half-past four he appeared [at 
his rooms ; Mrs. Jones met him in the hall, 
and spoke to him as he went up stairs. 
When his dinner was sent up at five, the 
maid found him buried in a heap of law 
papers. HastUy clearing a space at one end 
of the table, he told her to put the dinner 
there. In less than half an hour the bell was 
nmg for the things to be taken away, and 
Mr. OUivera was then bending over his papers 
again. 

The papers no doubt related to a cause in 
which he was to appear the following day. 
It was a civil action, touching some property 
in which Mrs. Joliffe was remotely though not 
actively interested. The London solicitors 
were the good old firm of Greatorex and 
Greatorex ; Mr. OUivera was a relative of the 
house ; nephew of old Mr. Greatorex, in fact ; 
and to him had been confided the advocacy of 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 25 

the cause. The name of the local solicitor it 
does not signify to mention. It was not a 
very important cause : but a new barrister 
thinks all his causes important, and Mr. Olli- 
vera was an earnest, painstaking man, sparing 
himself no trouble that could conduce to suc- 
cess. He had declined a proffered dinner en- 
gagement for that evening, but accepted an 
invitation for the next. So much was known 
of his movements up to the Monday even- 
ing. 

On that same evening, Mr. Bede Greatorex 
arrived at the station by the six o'clock train 
from London ; took a fly, and was driven to 
the Star and Garter Hotel. He was the son 
of old Mr. Greatorex, and the second partner 
in the firm. His journey down had reference 
to the next day's action : something new had 
unexpectedly arisen ; some slight information 
been gained of a favourable nature, and Mr. 
Greatorex, senior, had despatched his son to 
confer with Mr. Ollivera in preference to 
writiag or telegraphing. Bede Greatorex was 
nothing loth, and entered on his flying jour- 
ney with high good humour, intending to be 
back in London by the following mid-day. 
He was a tall, fine-looking man, in face not 
unlike Mr. Ollivera, except that his hair and 
eyes were dark, and his complexion a clear. 



26 BOLAND YOBKE. 

pale olive; lis age about thirty-four. The 
cousins were cordial friends. 

On arriviQg at the Star and Grarter he de- 
cHned refreshment then, having taken an early 
dinner before leaving town, and asked to be 
directed to Mr. Ollivera's lodgings in High 
Street : which was readily done. High Street 
being in a direct line with the hotel. Mr. 
Bede Greatorex gained the house, and found 
it to be one of commodious proportions, the 
lower part occupied as a hosier's shop, whose 
windows were of plate glass. Over the door 
in the middle was inscribed " Richard Jones, 
hosier and patent shirt-front maker." There 
waa a side entrance, wide and rather hand- 
some ; the house altogether being a good one. 
Einging at the side bell, he enquired of the 
answering servant for Mr. Ollivera, and was 
at once shown up to him. 

Mr. Ollivera was seated at the table, his 
back to the door. The papers he had been 
engaged upon were neatly stacked now, as if 
done with ; he appeared to be writing a note ; 
and a pistol lay at his elbow. All this was 
shown both to Mr. Bede Greatorex and the 
maid, by the bright flame of the moderator 
lamp, then lighted. 

" Well, John 1" cried the visitor, in a gay. 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 27 

laughing tone, before the girl could speak. 
" Don't be surprised at seeing me." 

Mr. OUivera turned round at the voice 
and evidently was surpnBed : surpriBed and 
pleased 

" Why, Bede !" he cried, starting up. " Td 
as soon have expected to see a ghost. '' 

They shook hands heartily, and Mr. Bede 
Greatorex sat down. The maid, to save 
coming up again to ask, took the opportunity 
of inquiring when Mr. OUivera would like 
tea; and was answered that he might not 
want any ; if he did, he'd ring : he might be 
going out. As the servant shut the door she 
heard the visitor begin to explain his errand, 
and that his father had sent him in preference 
to writing. Her ears were always full of 
curiosity. 

In about an hour's time, Mr. Bede Greato- 
rex departed. A yoimg man belonging to the 
house, Alfred Jones, who happened to be pass- 
ing up the stairs when Mr. Greatorex was 
quitting the drawing-room, heard that gentle- 
man make an appointment with Mr. OUivera 
for the morning. 

Mr. Bede Greatorex walked back to the 
hotel, ordered a fire made in his bedroom 
against night, took a glass of brandy-and- 



28 ROLAND YORKE. 

water, for he felt cold, washed the travelling 
dust off his face and hands, which he had not 
done before, had his coat brushed, and went 
out again. It was nine o'clock then, and he 
bent his steps quickly towards the cathedral 
to call on Mrs. Joliffe, having to inquire the 
way. It took him through High Street again, 
and as he passed his cousin's lodgings, the 
same servant who had shown him in was 
standing at the front-door, recognized him and 
dropped a curtsey. 

In the drawing-room with Mrs. Joliffe were 
her three daughters, Louisa, Clare, and Mary ; 
some three or four friends were also assembled. 
They were astonished to see Mr. Bede Great- 
orex : none of them knew him well, except 
Louisa, who had paid a long visit to his fii- 
ther's house the previous year. She changed 
colour when he was announced : and it may 
have been that his voice took a tenderer tone 
as it addressed her ; his hand lingered longer 
in clasping hers than it need have done. She 
was an excessively fashionable yoimg lady : 
not very yoimg, perhaps six or seven-and- 
twenty : and if Bede Greatorex coveted her 
for a wife it was to be hoped his pockets were 
well lined. He spoke just a word to Mrs. 
Joliffe of having come down on a mission to 
Mr. OUivera ; not stating explicitly what it 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 29 

was ; and said he was going back home in the 
morning. 

"We are expecting Mr. Ollivera here to- 
night," observed Mrs. Joliffe. " He is late." 

" Are you ?" was the reply of Mr. Greatorex. 
" John said he might be going out, I remem- 
ber, but I did not know it was to your house. 
Don't make too sure of him, Mrs. Joliffe. 
He seemed idle, and complained of head- 
ache." 

" I suppose he is busy," remarked Mrs* 
Joliffe. " All you law people are busy at as- 
size time." 

" Louisa, is it as it should be between us ?" 
whispered Bede Greatorex, in an opportimity 
that occurred when they were alone near the 
piano. 

"Don't be sUly, Mr. Greatorex," was the 
answer. 

" SiUy 1" 

She bent her head, not speaking. 

"What do you mean, Louisa? Our en- 
gagement was entered upon deliberately : 
you gave me every hope. You cannot play 
with me now. Speak, Louisa." 

He had taken possession of her hand, and 
was keeping her before him ; his dark eyes, 
gleaming with their doubt and love, looked 
straight into hers. 



80 BOLAND YOBKE. 

'' What r she feintly asked. " Why do 
you question it ?" 

" Because your manner is strange : you have 
avoided me ever since I came in.'* 

" The surprise was so great." 

" Surely a pleasant surprise. I intended it 
as such. Do you suppose I should have cared 
to come down on this business to Mr. OUivera, 
when writing would have answered every pur- 
pose ? No : I came to see you. And to learn 
why ^^ 

" Not now. Don't you see mamma is look- 
ing at me ?" 

" And what though she is ? I should have 
liked to speak to your mother to-night, but 
for '' 

"Not to-night. I pray you not to-night. 
Take another opportunity." 

The words reassured him. 

" Then, Louisa, it is all right between us." 

"Yes, yes, of course it is. You offended 
me, Bede, last January, and I — ^I have been 
vexed. I'll write to you as soon as you get 
back home, and explain everything." 

He pressed her hand with a lingering touch, 
and then released it. There was nothing in 
the wide world so coveted by Bede Greatorex 
a« that false hand of hers : as many things, 
feir outside, false within, are coveted by us 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 31 

poor mortals, blind at the best. But Miss 
Joliffe looked half scared as she left him for 
a safer part of the room ; her eyes and man- 
ner were alike restless. Bede followed her, 
and they were talking together at intervals 
in an imder tone during the rest of the even- 
ing, Louisa being evidently ill at ease, but 
striving to conceal it. 

At a quarter to eleven Mr. Bede Greatorex 
took his departure. In passing up High 
Street, his cousin's lodgings were on the op- 
posite side of the way. He momentarily 
halted and stepped off the pavement as if 
he would have crossed to go in, and then 
hesitated, for the sitting-room was in dark- 
ness. 

" The light's out : he's gone to bed, I dare 
say," said Mr. Greatorex, speaking aloud. 
" No good to disturb him." And a trades- 
man, who happened to be fastening his side- 
door and had got it about an inch open, over- 
heard the words, Mr. Greatorex having doubt- 
less been quite unaware that he spoke to an 
auditor. 

Towards the top of High Street he met 
Mr. Kene, the barrister. The latter, after 
expressing some surprise at seeing him, and 
assuming he had come direct from Mr. Olli- 
vera's, asked whether the latter was in. 



32 ROLAND YORKE. 

"In, and in bed/' replied Mr. Greato- 
rex. 

" Indeed 1 Why, it's not eleven o'clock." 

" At any rate, there's no light in his room, 
or I should have gone up. He complained of 
headache : perhaps he haa gone to bed early 
to sleep it offi" 

" I want to see him particularly," said the 
baxrister. « Are you sure he is in bed ?" 

*^You can go and ascertain, Kene. Ring 
the people of the house up, should they have 
gone to bed too. I could see no light any- 
where." 

Mr. Kene did not care to ring people up, 
and decided to leave his business with Mr. 
Ollivera until the morning. He had been 
dining with some fellows, he said, and had 
no idea how the time was running on. Link- 
ing his arm within that of Bede Greatorex, 
they walked together to the Star, and there 
parted. Mr. Greatorex went up at once -to 
his chamber, stirred the fire into a blaze, rang 
for the waiter, and ordered another glass of 
hot brandy-and-water. 

*^ I think I must have taken cold," he ob- 
served to the man when it was brought to 
him. " There has been a chiU upon me ever 
since I came here." 

" Nothing more likely, sir," returned the 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 33 

waiter. " Them trains axe such draughty 
things.^' 

However, Mr. Greatorex hoped he should 
be all right in the moming. He gave direc- 
tions to be called at a quarter before eight, 
and the night wore on. 

Some time before that hour chimed out 
from the cathedral clock, when the morning 
had come, he found himself aroused by a 
knocking at his door. A waiter, speaking 
from the outside, said that something had 
happened to Mr. Ollivera. Mr. Bede Greato- 
rex, thinking the words odd, and not best 
pleased to be thus summarily disturbed, pos- 
sibly from dreams of Louisa Joliffe, called out 
from the downy pillow (ia rather a cross tone, 
it must be confessed) to know what had hap- 
pened to Mr. OUivera : and was answered 
that he was dead. 

Springing out of bed, and dressing himself 
quickly, Bede Greatorex went down stairs, 
and found that Kene, who had brought the 
news, was gone again, leaving word that he 
had gone back to High Street. Mr. Greato- 
rex hastened to foUow him. 

The tale to be told was very singular, very 
sad, and Bede Greatorex could not help shiv- 
ering as he heard it. His cold was upon him 
stilL It appeared that nothing more had been 

VOL. I. 3 



34 ROLAND YORKE. 

seen or heard of Mr. Ollivera after Mr. Greato- 
rex left him the previous evening. Mrs. Jones, 
the mistress of the house, had gone out at 
seven, when the shop closed, to sit by the 
bedside of a dying relative ; her sister. Miss 
Rye, was also out ; the maid left in charge, 
the only servant the house kept, had taken 
the opportunity to spend her time in the 
street ; standing now at her own door, now 
at other doors half a score yards off, as she 
could get neighbours' servants to gossip with. 
About half-past ten it occurred to the maid 
that she might as well go up and enquire if 
Mr. Ollivera wanted anythiag: perhaps the 
fact of his not having rung at all struck her 
as singular. She knew he had not gone out, or 
she must have seen him, for she had contrived 
to keep a tolerably steady look-out on the 
street-door, however far she had wandered 
from it. Up she went, knocked at the door, 
got no answer, opened it, saw that the room 
was in darkness, and regarded it as a sure 
proof that Mr. Ollivera had left the room for 
the night, for he never put the lamp out in 
any other case. 

" He's gone to bed early to-night," thought 
the girl, shutting the door again. " I hope to 
goodness he didn't ring, and me not hear it. 
Wouldn't missis fly out at me !" 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 35 

And when Mrs. Jones came in, as she did 
soon after the girl got down stairs again, and 
enquired after Mr. OUivera, she was told he 
had gone to bed. 

Now it appeared that Miss Rye sat over 
the sitting-room fire (a parlour behind the 
shop, underneath Mr. OUivera^s bed-room) for 
some time after the rest of the house had 
retired to rest. When at length she went to 
bed, she was imable to sleep. Towards morn- 
ing she dropped into a doze, and was awakened 
(according to her own account) by a, dream. 
A very vivid dream, that startled and im- 
nerved her. She dreamt she saw Mr. OUi- 
vera in his sitting-room — dead. And, as she 
seemed to look at him, a terrible amount of 
self-reproach, far greater than any she could 
ever experience in life, rushed over her mind, 
for not having gone in earlier to discover him. 
It was this feeling that awoke her : it had 
seemed that he cast it on her, that it came 
out direct to her from his dead presence, cold 
and lifeless though he was. So real did it all 
appear, that for some minutes after Miss Rye 
awoke, she could not believe it to be only a 
dream. Turning to look at her watch she saw 
it was half-past six, and the sun had risen. 
An early riser always, for she had to get her 
living by dress-making, Miss Rye got up and 

3—2 



36 ROLAND YORKE. 

dressed herself : but she could not throw off 
the impression made upon her ; and a little 
before seven she went down and opened the 
door of Mr. OUivera's sitting-room. Not so 
much to see whether it might be true, or not, 
as to show to herself by ocular demonstration 
that it was not true : she might forget the 
impression then. 

But it was true. What was Miss Rye's 
horror and astonishment at seeing him, Mr. 
Ollivera, there 1 At the first moment of open- 
iag the door, she observed nothing unusual. 
The white blinds were down before the win- 
dows ; the tables, chairs, other furniture were 
as customary ; but as she stood looking in, 
she saw in an easy chair near the table, whose 
back was towards her, the head of Mr. Olli- 
vera. With a strange boimding-on of all 
her pulses ; with a dread fear at her heart, 
that caused it to cease beating. Miss Rye 
went in and looked at him, and then flew out 
of the room, uttering startled cries. 

The cries arose the house. Mrs. Jones, the 
yoimg man Alfred Jones, and the servant- 
maid came flocking forth : the two former 
were nearly dressed ; the maid had been about 
her work down-stairs. Mr. OUivera lay back 
in the easy-chair, dead and cold. The right 
arm hung down over the side, and imme- 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 37 

diately underneath it on the carpet, looking 
as if it had dropped from the hand, lay the 
discharged pistol. 

The servant and Alfred Jones ran two ways : 
the one for a doctor, the other to Mr. Kene 
the barrister, who had been intimate with Mr. 
Ollivera ; Mrs. Jones, a shrewd, clever woman, 
locking the room up exactly as it was, until 
they should arrive. 

But now, by a singular coincidence, it hap- 
pened that Mr. Butterby, abroad betimes, was 
the first to meet the running servant-maid, 
and consequently, he was first on the scene. 
The doctor and Mr. Kene came next, and then 
Bede Greatorex. Such was the story as it 
greeted Bede's ears. 

On the table, just as both he and the ser- 
vant had seen them the night before, were the 
neatly-stacked law papers. Also a folded legal 
document that had been brought from town 
by himself Bede Greatorex. There were also 
pens, ink, and a sheet of note-paper, on which 
some lines were written. They were as fol- 
lows :— 

"My Dear Friend, — It is of no use. 
Nothing more can be done. Should I never 
see you agaia, I beg you once for aU to believe 
me when I say that I Imve made efforts, 



38 ROLAiro YORKE. 

though they have been ineffectual And 
when 

" The pistol is ready to my hand. Good-bye." 

The first portion of this letter, up to the 
point of the abrupt breaking off, was written 
in Mr. OUivera's usual steady hand. The lat- 
ter portion was scrawling, trembhng, and 
blotted ; the writing bearing but a faint re- 
semblance to the rest. Acute Mr. Butterby 
remarked that it was just the kind of writing 
an agitated man might pen, who was about to 
conmait an evil deed There was no clue as 
to whom the note had been intended for, but 
it appeared to point too evidently to the in- 
tention of self-destruction. Nevertheless, there 
was one at least who doubted. 

" Is it so, think you T asked Mr. Kene, in 
a low tone, as he stood by the side of Bede 
Greatorex, who was mechanically turning over 
the papers on the table one by one. 

" Is it what T asked Bede, looking up, his 
tone sharp with pain. 

"Self-destruction. There never lived a 
man less likely to commit it than your cousin, 
John OUivera." 

" As I should have thought," returned Mr. 
Greatorex. " But if it is not that, what else 
can it be T 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 39 

"There is one other possible solution, at 
least : putting any idea of accident aside." 

The supposition of a^cidenthad not occurred 
to Bede Greatorex. A gleam of surprised 
cheerfulness crossed his face. 

" Do you indeed think it could have been 
an accident, Kene ? Then " 

" No ; I think it could not have been," in- 
terrupted the barrister. " I said, putting the 
idea of that aside : it is the most improbable 
of any. I alluded to the other alternative." 

Mr. Greatorex understood his meaning, and 
shrunk from its unpleasantness. " Who would 
harm OUivera, Kene ? He had not an enemy 
in the world." 

" So far as we know. But I declare to you, 
Greatorex, I think it the more likely thing of 
the two." 

Bede Greatorex shook his head. The facts, 
so far as they were yet disclosed, seemed deci- 
sive and unmistakable. 

They passed into the bed-room. It was all 
just as the servant had left it the past even 
ing, ready for the occupation of Mr. OUivera. 
On a small table lay his Prayer-book, and the 
pocket Bible he was wont to carry with him 
in travelling. Bede Greatorex felt a sudden 
faintness steal over him as he looked, and 
leaned for a few moments against the wall. 



40 ROLAND YORKE. 

But he had no time for indulging grief. He 
went out, enquired for the telegraph oflSlce, 
and sent a message with the news to his 
father in town, softening it as well as circum- 
stances allowed : as we all like to do at first 
when ill news has to be told. He simply 
stated that John (the familiar name Mr. Olli- 
-vera was known by at home) had died sud- 
denly. The message brought down his brother, 
Frank Greatorex, some hours later. 

To say that the town was thrown into a 
commotion almost equal to that of Mrs. Jones's 
house, would he superfluous. A young bar- 
rister, known to many of the inhabitants, who 
had come in with the judges only on Satur- 
day ; who was to have led in a cause in the 
Nisi Prius Court on that very morning, Tues- 
day, and to be junior in another cause set 
down for Wednesday, in which Mr. Kene, the 
experienced and renowned Queen's Counsel, 
led, had been found dead! And by such a 
death ! It took the public by storm. Mrs. 
Jones's shop was besieged to an extent that 
she had to put up her shutters : High Street 
was impassable : and all those in the remotest 
degree connected with the deceased or with 
the circumstances, were followed about and 
stared at as though they were wild animals. 
Five hundred conjectures were hazarded and 



UP TO THE MONDAY EVENING. 41 

spoken : five hundred tales told that had no 
foundation. Perhaps the better way to col- 
lect the various items of fact together for the 
reader, will be to transcribe some of the evi- 
dence given before the coroner. The inquest 
was fixed to take place on the Wednesday 
morning, in the club-room of an inn lying con- 
veniently near. 



CHAPTEE III. 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 



The coroner and jury assembled at an un- 
usually early hour, for the convenience of Mr. 
Kene, who wished to be present. It had been 
thought that the only brother of the deceased, 
a clergyman, would have come down ; but he 
had not arrived. After viewing the body, 
which lay stiU at Mrs. Jones's, the proceed- 
ings commenced. Medical testimony was 
given as to the cause of death— a pistol-shot 
that had penetrated the heart. The surgeon, 
Mr. Hurst, who had been called in at the first 
discovery on Tuesday morning, stated that to 
the best of his belief, death (which must have 
been instantaneous) had taken place early the 
previous evening, he should say about seven 
or eight o'clock. And this view was confirmed 
in rather a singular manner. Upon examining 
the quantity of oil in the lamp, which Mrs. 
Jones had herself fiUed, it was seen that it 
could not have burnt very much more than an 



f. 



51 

silver 
Iiiiii'; 
Cer- 
t'ater 

je co- 
iitely 

ly re- 
h an 
lUted 
•i-n. 
Iiing 

I the 
she 

s not 

i\new 

•lit to 



L'r 



^h: 



iotha 
iand- 
V on 

S in 
, ha- 
. tlie 
i|) to 

she 
oout 



44 ROLAND YORKE. 

dence had never been tendered him before, 
and lie eyed the witness keenly. To see her 
stand there in her black robes, tall, upright, 
of really dignified demeanour, with her feir 
features and good looks — ^but there were dark 
circles round her eyes to-day, and the soft 
colour had left her cheeks — ^to hear her tell of 
this in her sensible, cahn accents, was some- 
thing marvellous. 

*^ Were you at home on the Monday night?" 
asked the coroner. And it may as well be re- 
marked that some of the questions put by him 
during the inquest, nusceUaneous queries that 
did not appear to be quite in order, or have 
much to do with the point in question, had 
very probably their origin in the various 
nunours that had reached him, and in the 
doubt breathed into his ears by Mr. Kene. 
The coroner did not in the least agree with 
Mr. Kene; rather pitied the barrister as a 
visionary, for allowing himself to glance at 
such a doubt ; but he was fond of diving to 
the bottom of things. Living in the same 
town, knowing all the jury personally, in the 
habit of exchanging a word of news with Mrs. 
Jones whenever he met her, the coroner may 
have been excused if the proceedings were 
slightly irregular, involving some gossip as 
well as law. 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 45 

" No/' replied the witness. " Except that 
I ran in for a few minutes. I had been at 
work that afternoon at a neighbour's, helping 
her to make a gown. I went in home to get 
a pattern." 

" What time wa^ that ?" 

" I cannot be particular as to the exact 
time. It must have been nearly eight." 

" Did you see the deceased then T 

" No. I did not see any one except the 
servant. She was standing at the open street 
door. When I had been up stairs to get 
what I wanted I went out again." 

" Did you hear any noise as you passed Mr. 
Ollivera's rooms ?" 

*' Not any. I do not know anything more 
of the details, sir, than I have told you." 

The next witness called was Mr. Bede 
Greatorex. He gave his evidence clearly^ 
but at portions of it was evidently under the 
influence of some natural emotion, which he 
contrived to suppress. A man does not like 
to show such. 

" My name is Bede Greatorex. I am the 
son of Mr. Greatorex, the well-known London 
solicitor, and second partner in the firm Great- 
orex and Greatorex. The deceased, John 
Ollivera, was my cousin, his father and my mo- 
ther having been brother and sister. A matter 



46 ROLAND YORKE. 

of business arose connected with, a cause to 
he tried in the Nisi Prius Court, in which 
Mr. Ollivera was to be the leading counsel, 
and my father despatched me down on Mon- 
day to communicate with him. I arrived by 
the six o'clock evening train, and was with 
him before half-past six. We held a business 
conference together ; I stayed about an hour 
with him, and then went back to my hotel. 
I never afterwards saw him alive." 

" I must put a few questions to you with 
your permission, Mr. Greatorex, for the satis- 
faction of the jury," observed the coroner. 

" Put as many as you like, sir ; I wiU answer 
them to the best of my ability," was the reply. 

" First of all — ^what was the exact hour at 
which you reached Mr. Ollivera's rooms ?" 

" I should think it must have been about 
twenty minutes after six. The train got in 
to time, six o'clock ; I took a fly to the Star 
and Garter, and from thence walked at once 
to Mr. Ollivera's lodgings, the people at the 
hotel directing me. The whole could not 
have taken above twenty minutes." 

" And how long did you remain with him ?" 

*' An hour : perhaps rather more. I should 
think I left him about half-past seven. I was 
back at the hotel by a quarter to eight, 
having walked slowly, looking at the different 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 47 

features of the streets as I passed. I had 
never been in the town before." 

" Well, now, Mr. Greatorex, what was the 
manner of the deceased while you were with. 
him ? Did you perceive anything unusual T 

" Nothing at all. He was just as he always 
was, and very glad to see me. We" — ^the 
witness paused to swallow his emotion — " we 
had ever been the best of Mends aad com- 
panions. I thought him a little quiet, dulL 
As he sat, he bent his forehead on his hand 
and complained of headache, saying it had 
been close in court that day." 

(" True enough," murmured Mr. Kene.) 

" The news you brought down to him was 
not bad news ?" questioned the coroner. 

*' Quite the contrary. It was good : favour- 
able to our cause." 

*^ Did you see him write the note found on 
his table, or any portion of it ?" 

**When the servant showed me into the 
room, he appeared to be writing a note. As 
he sat down after shaking hands with me, he 
put the blotting paper over what he had 
written. He did not take it off again, or 
write at all while I remained." 

" Was it the same note, think you, that 
was afterwards found ?" 

" I should think it likely. I noticed that 



48 ROLAND YORKE. 

some few lines only were written. About" — 
the witness paused a moment — " about the 
same quantity as in the first portion of the 
note." 

" Did he put the blotting paper oyer it to 
prevent you seeing it, do you suppose, Mr. 
Greatorex ?" 

*^ I do not know. I thought he was only 
afraid it might get blotted. The ink was 
wet." 

" Did any one come in while you were with 
him?" 

" No. I wished him good night, intending 
to see him in the morning, and was shown 
out by some young man." 

"Do you know to whom that note was 
written ?" 

" I have not the slightest idea. Neither 
do I know to what it alludes." 

" Then — ^your theory, I presume, is — ^that 
he added that blotted concluding liQe after 
your departure ? In fact, just when he was 
on the point of committiQg the rash act ?" 

" I do not see what else can be beheved. 
The pen lay across the words when found, as 
if tin-own there after writing them, and ap- 
peared to have caused the blots." 

"Did he say anything to you about any 
appointment he had kept that afternoon ?" 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 49 

" Not anything." 

" And now about the pistol, Mr. Greatorex. 
Did you see one on the table ?" 

^^Yes." 

" Did it not strike you as singular that it 
should be there ?" 

" Not at all. Mr. OUivera never travelled 
anywhere without a pistol ; it was a fancy he 
had. Some years ago, when in a remote part 
of Spain, he was attacked in his chamber at 
night, robbed, and rather seriously hurt ; since 
then he has always when travelling taken a 
pistol with him. I asked him what brought 
it on the table, and he said he had been put- 
ting a drop of oil on the lock." 

" Did you know that it was loaded ?" 

" I did not. I really did not think much 
about it, one way or the other. We were 
busy over the business on which I came down : 
and I knew, as I have said, that he used to 
carry a pistol with him in travelling." 

"Then — ^in point of fact, Mr. Greatorex, 
you can throw no positive light on this affair 
for us ?" 

The witness shook his head. " I wish I 
could. I have told you all' I know." 

" Do you think there can be any reasonable 
doubt — ^any doubt whatever — ^that he com- 
mitted suicide ?" 

VOL. I. 4 



50 ROLAND YORKE. 

" I feax there can be none," replied Mr. 
Greatorex, in a low tone, and lie shivered 
perceptibly as he gave it. It was a crime 
which Bede Greatorex had always held in 
shrinking, pitying abhorrence. 

" One question more, and then we will re- 
lease you and thank you for the clear manner 
in wHch you have given your evidence," said 
the coroner. " Did you see cause to suspect 
in that lafit interview that his mind was other- 
wise than in a sane state ?" 

" Oh no ; certainly not." 

" It was calm and clear as usual, for aU you 
saw?" 

"Quite so." 

" Stay. There's one other point. Was the 
deceased in any kind of embarrassment, so 
far as your cognizance goes, pecuniary, or 
else r 

" I feel quite sure that he was in no pecu- 
niary embarrassment whatever," returned the 
witness warmly, anxious to do justice to his 
cousin's memory. " As to any other kind of 
embarrassment, I cannot speak. I am aware 
of none ; and I should think he was one of 
the least likely men to get into any." 

That was all. Mr. Bede Greatorex bowed 
to the coroner and gave place to another wit- 
ness. A little dark woman in black, with an 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 51 

old-fashioned black cMp bonnet on, and silver 
threads beginning to mix with her black hair; 
but her eyebrows were very black stiQ. Cer- 
tainly no two women could present a greater 
contrast iq appearance than she and Miss Rye, 
although they were sisters. 

" Your name is Julia Jones," began the co- 
roner's man, who knew Mrs. Jones intimately 
in private life. 

" Yes, it is Julia Jones," emphatically re- 
plied the lady, in a tart voice, and with an 
accent on the " Jones," as if the name grated 
on her tongue. And Mrs. Jones was sworn. 

After some prelimiaary evidence, touching 
Mr. OUivera's previous visits to her, and the 
length of time he had stayed, which she 
entered upon of her own accord and was not 
checked, Mrs. Jones was asked what she knew 
of the calamity. How it was first brought to 
her knowledge. 

" The first was through my sister AUetha 
Rye shrieking out from the first-floor land- 
ing below, a little before seven o'clock on 
Tuesday morning," responded Mrs. Jones, in 
the same tart tone ; which was, in fact, ha- 
bitual to her. " I was in my bed-room, the 
front room on the second floor, dressed up to 
my petticoat, and out I flew, thinking she 
must be on fire. She said something about 

4—2 



52 ROLAND YORKE. 

Mr. Ollivera, and I ran down, and saw him 
lying dead in the chair. Jones's nephew, in 
his waistcoat and shirt-sleeves, and his face all 
in a lather, for he was shaving, got into the 
room when I did." 

" When did you see the deceased last, 
Mrs. Jones ?" was the next question put, 
after the witness had described the appear- 
ance of the room, the pistol on the carpet, 
the blotted note on the table, the quantity 
of on in the lamp, and so forth. 

" When did I see him last ? why on the 
Monday afternoon, when he came in from 
court," responded Mrs. Jones. " I was cross- 
ing the hall at the foot of the stairs, be- 
tween the parlour and the shop, as he camfi 
in. He looked tired, and I said so ; and he 
jinswered that he had been about all day, 
in the court and elsewhere, and was tired. 
That's when I saw him last : never after, till 
I saw him in his chair, dead." 

" You heard nothing of his movements on 
that evening ?" 

*^ I wasn't likely to hear it, seeing I went 
out as soon as the shop was shut. Before it, 
in £ict, for I left Jones's nephew to put up 
the shutters. Old Jenkins is dying, as all 
the parish knows, and I went to sit with him 
and take him some beef-tea. Jones's nephew. 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 53 

he went out too, to his debating club, as he 
calls it. And precious debating it must be," 
continued Mrs. Jones, with additional tsxir 
ness, " if the debaters are aU as green and 
soft as he ! AUetha Rye, she was at work at 
Mrs. Wilson's : and so, as ill-luck had it, aU 
the house was out." 

"Except your servant, Susan Marks," ob- 
served one of the jury. " She was left - at 
home to keep house, we hear." 

" And in a very pretty manner she did keep 
it !" retorted Mrs. Jones, as if she had taken 
a pint of vinegar to set her teeth on edge ; 
while Susan Marks, at the back, gave a kind 
of groan, and biu^t into fresh tears. " Up 
the street here, down the street there, over 
the way at the doors yonder, staring, and 
gossiping, and gampusing — that's how she 
kept it. And on an assize night, of all nights 
in the year, to be airing her cap in the street, 
when barristers and other loose characters are 
about 1" 

The gratuitous compliment paid to the bar- 
risters raised a laugh, in spite of the sad en- 
quiry the court had met upon. Mrs. Jones's 
epithet sounded, however, worse to others 
than to herself. 

" And she could tell me, when I got in just 
before eleven, that Mr. OUivera had gone to 



54 ROLAND YORKE. 

bed 1" resumed that lady, in intense aggrava- 
tion : " which, of course, I believed, and we 
all went up to our rooms, suspecting nothing. 
Let me ever catch her out at the street door 
again I home she'll go to Upton Snodsbury." 

Groans from the back, in the vicinity of 
Susan Marks. 

" Had you known previously, Mrs. Jones, 
that Mr. Ollivera was in the habit of bringing 
with him a loaded pistol V 

" Yes ; for he told me. One day last Oc- 
tober, when I was up dusting his drawing- 
room, he had got it out of the case. I said I 
should not like to have such a weapon near 
me, and he laughed at that. He used to keep 
it on the chest of drawers in his bed-room : 
that is, the case ; and I suppose the thing it- 
self was inside." 

" Your husband was not at home when this 
unfortunate event happened, Mrs. Jones ?" 
' " No, he was not/^ assented Mrs. Jones ; 
and it was as if she had swallowed a whole 
gallon of vinegar now. " He has been off to 
Wales last week and this, and is as likely as 
not to be there next." 

Another question or two, not of much im- 
port, and Mrs. Jones gave place to her hus- 
band's nephew. He was known in the town 
for a steady, well-conducted yoimg man, quite 



\ 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 55 

trustworthy. He had not very much to 
telL 

" My name is Alfred Jones," he said, " and 
I live with my imcle, Richard Jones, as as- 
sistant in the shop '' 



" Which wouldn't want any assistant 

at all, if Jones stayed at home and stuck to 
his duties," put in Mrs. Jones's sharp voice, 
from the back. Upon which she was admo- 
nished to hold her tongue : and the witness 
continued. 

" On Monday night, I put up the shutters 
at seven, as usual in the winter season ; I 
changed my coat, washed my hands, and went 
to the debating club in Goose Lane. Soon 
after I got there I foimd I had forgotten a 
book that I ought to have taken back to the 
club's Ubrary. The time for my keeping it 
was up, and as we are fined twopence if we 
keep a book over time, I went back to get it. 
It was then half-past seven. The street dobr 
was open, and Susan, the servant, was stand- 
ing at it outside. As I ran up the stairs, the 
book being in my bed-room at the top of the 
house, I heard the drawing-room door open 
just after I passed it ; I turned my head, and 
saw a gentleman come out. He " 

" Did you know him, witness ?" 

" No, sir, he was a stranger to me. I know 



56 ROLAND YORKE. 

him now for Mr. Greatorex. He was talking 
to Mr. OUivera. They were making an ap- 
pointment for the next morning." 

" Did you hear what was said V 

'' Yes, sir. As I looked roimd at the gen- 
tleman he was turning his head back to the 
room, and said, ' Yes, you may rely upon my 
coming early ; I'll be here before nine o'clock. 
Good night, John.' Those were, I think, the 
exact words, sir." 

" Did you see Mr. OUivera ?" 

" No, sir, he did not come out, and the gen- 
tleman only pushed the door back a little 
while he spoke. If it had been wide open I 
couldn't have seen in ; I was too far, some two 
or three steps up the stairs. I tiuned back 
then to attend Mr. Greatorex to the street 
door. After that I ran up for my book, and 
left the house aofain. I was not two minutes 
in it altogether." 

• " Did you see Mr. OUivera as you came 
down ?" 

'^ No, sir. The drawing-room door was 
closed, as Mr. Greatorex had left it. I never 
saw or heard of Mr. OUivera again untU Miss 
Rye's screams brought me down the next 
morning. That is aU I know." 

" At what hour did you go home on Mon- 
day evening ?" 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 57 

" It was close upon eleven, sir. We gene- 
rally disperse at half-past ten, but we stayed 
late that night. Mrs. Jones and Miss E-ye 
had not long come in, and were in the sitting- 
room." 

The next witness called was Susan Marks. 
The young woman, what with her own heinous 
offences on the eventful night, the dreadful 
calamity itself, and the reproaches of her mis- 
tress, had been in a state of tears ever since, 
fresh bursts breaking forth at the most im- 
seasonable times. 

Susan Marks, aged nineteen, native of Up- 
ton Snodsbury, cook and servant-of-all-work 
to Mrs. Jones. Such was the young woman's 
report of herself, as well as could be heard for 
her sobs and tears. She was attired neatly 
and weU ; in a print mourning gown and straw 
bonnet trimmed with black ; her face, that 
would otherwise have been fresh and clear, 
had small patches of red upon it, the result of 
the many tears and of perpetual rubbing. 

" Now, young woman," said the coroner 
briskly, as if he thought time was being lost, 
" what have you to tell us of the events of 
Monday night ?" 

" Nothing, sir," replied the young woman, 
in a fresh burst of grief that could be called 
nothing less than a howL " I never see Mr. 



58 ROLAND YORKE. 

Ollivera at all after I showed the gentleman 
up to him." 

** Well, let US hear about that. What time 
was it ?" 

" It was past six, sir ; I don't know how 
much. I had washed up Mr. OUivera's dinner 
things, and was putting the plates and dishes 
on the dresser shelves, when Mr. OUivera's 
bell rang. It was for his lamp, which I lighted 
and took in : he always wanted it afore day- 
light was well over when he was busy. He 
seemed in a hurry, and drew down the win- 
dow-blinds himself I lighted the gas-biuner 
outside the drawing-room door, and went back 
to the kitchen. No sooner was I there — 
leastways it couldn't have been five minutes 
— ^when there came a ring at the street door 
bell. I went to answer it, and saw a tall gen- 
tleman, who asked for Mr. Ollivera, and I 
showed him upstairs to the drawing-room." 

" Who was that gentleman T 

" It was Mr. Greatorex. But I didn't know 
him then, sir. I thought it was a barrister ; 
he didn't give no name." 

" Did you see Mr. Ollivera when you took 
this gentleman up ?" 

" Yes, sir. He was sitting with his back 
towards us, writing at the table, and I see 
the things on it. I hadn't noticed them much 



BEFORE THE COBONER. 59 

T^hen I took the lamp in. I see the papers 
put together tidy, which had been all about 
when he was at his dinner. I think he was 
very busy that evening," urged the witness, 
as if the fact might plead an excuse for what 
afterwards took place : " when I removed the 
dinner things he told me to put the sherry 
wine away on the sideboard ; sometimes, if he 
wanted to drink any, he'd have it left on the 
table." 

" Did he seem glad to see Mr. Greatorex ?" 

"Yes, sir, very. They shook hands, and 
Mr. Greatorex began telling him what he had 
come down about, and said his father had 
sent him in place of telegrunmiing. I asked 
Mr. Ollivera what time he'd like to have tea, 
but he said he didn't know whether he should 
take any, he might be going out ; if he wanted 
it, he'd ring. How was I to think, after that, 
that I ought to have went up to him, to see 
how he might be getting on, which missis has 
been a going on at me ever since for not 
doing ?" demanded the witness, with a stream 
of tears. 

" Come, come ! there, wipe your face," said 
one of the jury, with gruff kindness. And 
the questions went on, and the witness's re- 
plies. 

It was about an hour that Mr. Greatorex 



60 ROLAND YORKE. 

stayed, she thought. She saw him come out 
at the street door, and go away. Well, yes, 
she was a yard or two off, at a neighbour's 
door, next house but one. After missis went 
out and the shop was shut, and Alfred Jones 
went out, and there wasn't nobody indoors to 
want her, she had thought it no harm to stand 
at the street door a bit : and if she did go a 
step or two away from it, she never took her 
eyes off the door, and no person could go in 
or out without her seeing them, and that she'd 
swear. She saw Mr. Greatorex come out and 
walk away up High Street; and she never 
heard no sound in the house whatsoever. 

" Did any one go in ?" the coroner asked. 

'' No, sir, not a soul — ^barring Alfred Jones 
.and Miss Rye. Alfred Jones came back after 
he first went out, saying he had forgot some- 
thing, and he went upstairs to fetch it. He 
wasn't there no time ; and it was while he 
was up there that Mr. Greatorex came down 
.and left. Soon after that. Miss Rye, she 
<5ome in, and went up-stairs, and was there 
ever so long." 

" What do you call ' ever so long V " 

'^ Well, sir, I'm sure she was there a quar- 
ter of an hour," returned the witness, in a 
quick, positive sort of tone, as if the fact of 
Miss Rye's being there so long displeased her. 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 61 

" I ought to know ; and me a-standing inside 
the door-sill, afraid to move off it for fear she 
should come out." 

" Were you alone T 

" Well, yes, sir, I was. Mary, the house- 
maid at the big linendraper's, next door but 
one, can bear me out that I was, for she was 
there all the time, talking to me." 

Perhaps the coroner thought the answer 
savoured of Hibemianism, for something like 
a smile crossed his face. 

" And you heard no sound whatever up- 
stairs all the evening, Susan Marks ? You 
saw no one, except the persons mentioned, go 
in or come out ; no stranger T 

" I never heard no sound, and never saw no 
stranger at all," said the witness, earnestly. 
" I never even saw Godfrey Pitman leave. 
But I b'lieve he was away earlier." 

The concluding assertion fell with some sur- 
prise on the room ; there ensued a pause, and 
the coroner lifted his head sharply. Godfrey 
Pitman ? Who was Godfrey Pitman ? 

" Who is Godfrey Pitman, witness ?" 

" It was the lodger at the top of the house, 
sir. He had the front bedroom there — and a 
fine dance it was to carry his meals up. Mis- 
sis gave him the offer of eating them in the 
little room off the kitchen, but I suppose he 



62 EOLAND YORKE. 

was too proud to come down. Any way, he 
didn't come." 

" Is he lodging there now V* 

" Oh no, sir, he was only there a week and 
a day, and left on the Monday. He was a 
traveller in the spectacles line, he told me, 
passing through the town ; which he likewise 
wore himself sometimes. Well, sir, I never 
see him go at aU, and he didn't give me never 
a shilling for having waited on him and carried 
his trays up all them stairs." 

The girl had told apparently what she 
knew, and the coroner requested Mrs. Jones 
to come in again. He questioned her about 
the lodger. 

" It was a person of the name of Pitman," 
she answered, readily. " He was only pass- 
ing through the town, and occupied the room 
for a week." 

*' Who was he ?" asked the coroner. " Did 
you know him ?" 

'' I didn't know him from Adam," answered 
Mrs. Jones, tartly ; " I didn't know anything 
about him. I called him AUetha Rye's lodger, 
not mine, for it was she who picked him up. 
He may have told her all about himself, for 
aught I can say : she seemed to take a des- 
perate fancy to him, and mended his travelling 



BEFORE THE CORON.ER. 63 

bag. He didn't tell me. Not but what lie 
seemed a civil, respectable man." 

" When did he leave you, Mrs. Jones T 
" On Monday, about half-past four, when he 
took the five o'clock train for Birmingham. 
He came to the inner shop door as he was 
going out, and thanked me for my kuidness, 
as he called it, in taking him in at a pinch ; 
he said it was not what every one would do 
for a stranger. Neither is it." 

" You are sure he left you at that hour T 
" Have I got the use of my eyes and 
senses T demanded Mrs. Jones. " Sure ! I 
walked to the side door after him, and saw 
him go up the street towards the railway with 
his blue bag. Of course I am sure. It was 
as I crossed the hall, on my way back, that 
Mr. OUivera came in, and I spoke to him, as 
I have told you." 

It was therefore placed beyond doubt that 
the lodger, Mr. Pitman, could have no part or 
act in what took place in the house later. 
The coroner would have dismissed the subject 
summarily, but that one of the jury, a man 
who liked to hear himself talk, expressed an 
opinion that it might be satisfactory if they 
questioned Miss Rye. With a gesture of im- 
patience, the coroner called for her. 

She came in, was asked what .she knew of 



64 .ROLAND YORKK 

Mr. Pitman, and stood before them in silence^ 
her fitce a little bent, her fore-finger, encased 
in its well-fitting black kid glove, pressed 
lightly on her lip, her clear blue eye lookuig 
out straight before her. It was as if she 
were trying to recall something to her me- 
mory. 

" I recollect now," she said, after a minute : 
" I could not remember what took me up by 
the railway station, where I met him. It was 
on last Simday week, in the afternoon. Mrs. 
Hillman, who lives up there, was ill, and I 
had been to see her. As I was leaving her 
house, towards dusk, a few passengers were 
coming down fi:om the station. I stood on 
the door-step imtil they should have passed ; 
and one of them, who had a blue bag in his 
hand, like those that lawyers' clerks carry, 
stopped and asked me if I had a room in my 
house that I could let him occupy for a week. 
I supposed he took the house where I stood 
for mine. He went on to say he was a tra- 
veller and stranger, had never before been to 
the town, felt very poorly, and would very 
much wish to be spared the bustle of an hotel. 
I knew that my sister, Mrs. Jones, had a bed- 
room ready for letting," continued Miss Rye, 
" and I thought she might not object to oblige 
him ; he spoke quite as a gentleman, and I 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 65 

felt rather sorry for him, for he looked hag- 
gard and ill. That is how it happened/' 

"And your sister admitted him, and he 
stayed the week ?" cried the juror. 

'' Strictly speaking, I admitted him ; for 
when we reached home I foimd Mrs. Jones 
had gone to sit with old Jenkins for the rest 
of the day. So I took it upon myself to do 
so. On Saturday last Mr. Pitman said he 
would, with our permission, remain a day over 
the week, and leave on Monday." 

" And did he pay the rent. Miss Rye V 
asked the juror, who perhaps had a doubt on 
the point. 

" He paid the first week's rent as soon as 
he was admitted to the house, and gave a 
sovereign towards the purchase of his provi- 
sions," was the answer. " What remained he 
settled for on the Monday, previous to his 
departure by the five o'clock train for Bir- 
mingham." 

" Who was he, witness ? Where did he 
come from ?" 

" I really cannot teU much about him," was 
Miss Rye's reply. " I imderstood him to say 
he was a traveller ; his name, as he wrote it 
down for us, was Godfrey Pitman. He was 
laid up with a bad cold and relaxed throat all 

VOL. I. 5 



66 ROLAND YORKE. 

the time he stayed, and borrowed some books 
of me to read." 

There appeared to be no further scope for 
the exercise of the juror's powers ; no possible 
loop-hole for bringing this departed Mr. God- 
frey Pitman into connection with the death 
of Mr. Ollivera ; and Miss Rye was allowed 
to depart. 

Little more evidence was to be gleaned. 
Mr. Kene, tendering evidence, spoke of his 
long intimacy with the deceased, and of their 
last interview, when he was just the same that 
he ever had been : calm, cheerful, earnest- 
purposed. He could not understand, he 
added, how it was possible for Mr. Ollivera to 
have laid violent hands on himself— unless, 
indeed, the headache, of which he had com- 
plained, had proceeded from some derange- 
ment of the functions of the brain, and in- 
duced temporary insanity. 

But this suggested theory was wholly in- 
compatible with the letter that had been 
found, and with Mr. Bede Greatorex's testi- 
mony of the sane mind of the deceased when 
he quitted him. The jury shook their heads : 
keen-eyed Mr. Butterby, looking on unobtru- 
sively from a remote nook of the room, shook 
his. 

The inquest drew to a close ; the one fatal 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 67 

element in the evidence being the letter foimd 
on the table. The coroner and jiny debated 
upon their verdict with closed doors, and only 
re-admitted the public when they had decided. 
It did not take them long. 

" Felo-de-se.'' 

In accordance with the customary usage, a 
mandate was issued for a night interment, 
without Christian rites ; and the imdertaker 
promised to be ready for that same night 

The crowd filed out of the room, talking 
eagerly. That it was imdoubtedly a case of 
self-murder, and that in the most unhappy 
sense of the word, none doubted. No, not^ 
one : even Mr. Kene began to waver. 

As they were dispersing hither and thither 
along the street, there came hastily up a 
yoimg man in the garb of a clergyman. It 
was the Reverend Henry William OUivera, 
brother of the deceased gentleman. He had 
just arrived by train. In a« few words as 
possible, his cousin, Frank Greatorex, and Mr. 
Kene imparted to him some hasty particulars 
of the unhappy event. 

"He never did it," said the clergyman, 
solenmly. "Bede" — for at that moment 
Bede Greatorex joined the speakers — " how 
could you suffer them to bring in a verdict 
so horrible T 

6—2 



68 ROLAND YORKE. 

But Mr. Ollivera had not heard the full 
details yet. By common consent, as it were, 
they had not at first told him of the letter. 
Bede would not tell it now. Let the worst 
come out to him by degrees, thought he. 

"I am going up to town," said Bede 
Greatorex. "If " 

" And not stay for to-night T interrupted 
one of them, in an accent that savoured of 
reproach. 

" Nay, I must consider my father," was the 
grave reply of Bede. " He is in suspense all 
this whUe, waiting for news." 

So they parted Bede Greatorex hastened 
to catch the departiQg train for London. 
And the others remained to see the last of 
the Ulfated John OUivera. 

He was carried out of Mr. Jones's in the 
bright moonlight, soon after eleven o'clock 
had struck. Whether intentionally, as best 
befitting the scanty ceremony to be performed, 
or whether in accidental forgetfiilness, the un- 
dertaker had faUed to provide a covering for 
the coffin. And Mrs. Jones, with sundry 
sharp and stinging words of reprimand to the 
man, as it was in the nature of Mrs. Jones's 
tongue to give, brought down a long woollen 
black scarf-shawl, and helped to spread it over 
the coflSn with her own hands. 



BEFORE THE CORONER. 69 

Thus the procession started, preceded by 
many curious gazers, followed by more, Alletha 
Rye stealing on amidst tbe latter number; 
and so went on to the place of interment. 

You have seen what took place there. 



CHAPTER IV. 

GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 

In the vicinity of Bedford Square, so near to 
it that we may as weU designate the locality 
by that name throughout the story, stood the 
large professional residence of Greatorex and 
Greatorex. It was large in every sense of the 
word ; both as to the size of the house, and 
to the extent of the business transacted in it. 
A safe, good, respectable firm was that of 
Greatorex and Greatorex, standing as well in 
the public estimation as any solicitors could 
stand : and deservedly so. Mr. Greatorex 
was a man of nice honour ; upright, just, 
trustworthy. He would not have soiled his 
hands with what is technically called dirty 
work : if any client wanted underhand busi- 
ness done, swindling work (although it might 
be legal) that would not bear the light of 
day, he need not take it to Greatorex and 
Greatorex. 

The head of the firm, John Greatorex, was 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 71 

still in what many call the prime of life. He 
was fifty-eight, active and energetic. Marry- 
ing when he was very young, he reaUy did 
not look a great deal older than his son Bede. 
And Bede was not his first-bom. The eldest 
son had entered the army ; he was in India 
now, Captain Greatorex. He also had mar- 
ried young, and his Httle daughter and only 
child had been sent home to her grand-parents 
in accordance with the prevailing custom. 

The wife of Mr. Greatorex had been Miss 
Ollivera, sister to the father of John OUivera 
the barrister, whose sad end has been lately 
recorded. Mrs. Greatorex had faUen into ill 
health for some time past now ; in fact she 
was slowly dying of an incurable complaint. 
But for not liking to leave her, Mr. Greatorex 
might have hastened down as soon as the sad 
news reached him of his nephew's premature 
end. I say he "might;" but Mr. Greatorex 
was, himself, only recovering fi:om an attack 
of illness, and was scarcely strong enough to 
travel. And so he waited at home with all 
the patience he could call up, understanding 
nothing but that his nephew John, who had 
been as dear to him as were his own children, 
was dead. His children had been many : 
eight. James (Captain Greatorex) , the eldest ; 
Bede the second, one year younger ; next 



72 EOLAND YORKE. 

came two daughters, who were married and 
away ; then a son, Matthew, who was work- 
ing his way to competency in Spain ; the two 
next had died, and Francis was the youngest. 
The latter, called Frank always, was in the 
house in Bedford Square, but not yet made a 
partner. 

The young barrister just dead, John OUi- 
vera, left no relations to mourn for him, ex- 
cept his brother Henry William, and the 
Greatorex family. The two brothers had had 
to make their own way in the world, their 
uncle Mr. Greatorex helping them to do it ; 
the elder one choosiQg the Bar (as you have 
seen); Henry William, the Church. John 
had his chambers in Lincoln's Inn, and would 
certainly have risen into note had he Hved ; 
Henry William was a curate. 

Three o'clock was striking in London on 
Wednesday afternoon, as a train slackened its 
speed and drew into the Paddington terminus. 
One of the first of its passengers to alight was 
Mr. Bede Greatorex. He had a small black 
bag in his hand, and jimiped with it into a 
hansom cab. 

" Bedford Square !" 

The cabman answered with a nod as he 
touched his hat. He had driven Mr. Bede 
Greatorex before, who was sufficiently well 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. . 73 

known in London. Instead, however, of 
being permitted to dash up to the well-known 
door, the man found himself stopped a few 
yards short of it. 

" I'll get out here," said Bede Greatorex. , 
Paying the fare, he went on with his bag, 
and glanced up at the windows as he crossed 
to the house. All the blinds were down. It 
was a very large house : it had been two 
originally. In the old, old days, some thirty 
or more years ago, Mr. Greatorex had rented 
only one of the houses. As his family and 
business increased, he bought the one he oo- 
cupied aad the next adjoilg, aad made them 
into one. There were two entrances stiU ; 
the one pertained to the house and Mrs. 
Greatorex ; the other was the professional 
entrance. The rooms on the ground floor — 
and there were several — ^were taken up by 
the business ; one of them, looking to the 
garden, was the sitting-room of Mr. Greatorex. 
Bede went to the private entrance, and let 
himself in with his latch-key. Lodging his 
small bag at the foot of the handsome stair- 
case, he walked through some passages to his 
father's sitting-room ; which was empty. Re- 
tracing his steps he went upstairs ; a maid- 
servant happened to meet him on the first 
landing ; he handed her the bag and opened 



74 ROLAND YORKE. 

the door of the dining-room. A spacious, 
well-fitted up apartment, its paper white and 
gold, with streaks of crimson slightly inter- 
mingled to give it colour. 

Mr. Greatorex was there. He sat over the 
fire and had fallen asleep. It surprised Bede : 
for Mr. Greatorex was a man not given to 
idleness or indulgence of any kind. Indeed, 
to see him sitting upstairs in the day time was 
an event almost unknown. Bede closed the 
door again softly. There was a haggard look 
in the elder man's face, partly the efiect of his 
recent illness ; and Bede would not distiu-b him. 

Outside the door,, he stood a moment in 
hesitation. It was a spacious landing-place, 
something like an upper hall. The floor was 
carpeted with dark green; painted windows 
— ^yellow, blue, crimson — threw down a bright 
light of colour ; there was a small conserva- 
tory at one end, containing odoriferous plants 
on which the smi was shining ; and a chaste 
statue or two imparted stiU life to the whole. 

Bede hesitated. None but himself knew 
how horribly he hated and dreaded the tale 
he had to tell about poor John OUivera. All 
the way up he had been rehearsing to himself 
the manner in which he should break it for 
the best, but the plan had gone clean out of 
his head now. 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 75 

" I'll go up and wash my hands first, at any 
rate/' decided Bede. "The dust was worse 
than we had it on Monday." 

Ascending to the second landing, he was 
quietly crossing it to his own room, when a 
door was fl.ung open, and a pretty little girl in 
blue, her curling hair bound back with rib- 
bons, came flying out. It was the daughter 
of Captain Greatorex^. The young lady had 
naturally a wiU of her own ; and since her 
arrival from India, the indulgence lavished on 
her had not tended to lessen it. But she waa 
a charming child, and wonderfully keen. 

" Oh, Bede, have you come back ! Grand- 
mamma has been asking for you all the day." 

" Hush, Jane ! Til go in to grandmamma 
presently." 

Miss Jane did not choose to "hush." She 
evaded Bedels hand, flew across the soft carpet 
of the landing, and threw open a bed-room 
door, calling out that Bede had come. As to 
styling him Uncle Bede, she had never done 
anything of the kind. 

He heard his mother's voice, and could 
almost have boxed the child's ears. Back she 
came again, laying hold of him this time, her 
saucy dark brown eyes, grave now, lifted to 
his face. 

" Bede, how came John OUivera to die ?" 



76 BOLAND YOBKE. 

" Hush, Jane," he said again. This was 
precisely the point on which he did not care 
to hold present communication with his 
mother. He wished, if possible, to spare her; 
but the Httle girl was persistent. 

" Is he dead, Bede T 

" Yes, chUd, he is dead." 

"Oh, dear! And he can never kiss me 
again, or bring me new dolls I I broke the 
last one in two, and threw it at him." 

Her eyes filled with tears. Bede, deep in 
thought, put away the Httle hands that had 
fastened on his arms. 

" I Kked him better than you, Bede. What 
made him die ?" 

" Bede ! Bede I is that you ?" called out his 
mother. 

Bede had to go in. Mrs. Greatorex was on 
the sofa, dressed, her back supported by pU- 
lows. Her complexion was of dark olive, 
showing her Spanish extraction; a capable, 
kindly woman she had ever been in life ; and 
was endeavouring now to meet the death that 
she knew could not be far ofi*, as a Christian 
should. He stooped and kissed her. In fea- 
tiu-e^s he resembled her more than any of her 
children. 

" Do you feel better, mother ?" 

" My dear, you know that there can be no 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 77 

* better ' for me here. The pain is not heavy 
to-day. Have you just come up to town ?" 

" Just got in now." 

" And what have you to tell me ? I cannot 
believe that John is dead. When the telegram 
came yesterday morning, your father happened 
to be with me, and they brought it up. But 
for that, I dare say he would not have told 
me yet. He spares me all the trouble that he 
can, you know, dear. I fainted, Bede ; I did 
indeed. The death must have been very 
sudden.'' 

'' Yes,'' replied Bede. 

" Was it a fit ? Jane, run to the school- 
room. Your governess will be angry at your 
staying away so long." 

Jane's answer to this mandate was to perch 
herself on the arm of the sofa, side by side 
with the speaker, and to fix her eyes and her 
attention on the face of Bede. 

" None of the OUiveras have been subject 
to fits ; remember that, Bede," contiaued Mrs. 
Greatorex. " Neither did John himself look 
at all likely for one. To thiak that he should 
go before me 1 Jane, my little dear one, you 
must indeed go to Miss Ford." 

" I am going to stay here, grand'ma, and to 
hear about John." 

" There's nothing much to hear, or to tell," 



78 BOLAND YORKE. 

apoke Bede, as much perhaps for his mother's 
ear aa for the child's. " If you do not obey 
your grandmamma, Jane, I shall take you 
myself to the schoolroom." 

" No you won't, Bede. Why don't you 
answer grand'ma about John ?" 

Mrs. Greatorex had nearly left off contend- 
ing with Miss Jane ; weary, sick, in pain, it 
was too much effort, and she generally yielded 
to the dominant Httle will. As she appeared 
to do now, for it was to Bede she spoke. 

"Bede, dear, you are keeping me in sus- 
pense. Was it a fit T 

" No ; it could not be called a fit." 

" The heart, perhaps ?" 

" His death must have been quite sudden," 
said Bede, with pardonable evasion. " Instan- 
taneous, the doctors thought: and therefore 
without pain." 

" Poor John ! poor John 1 The veil is lifted 
for him. Bede 1" 

Bede had begun to tiun his attention to 
the young lady, and was putting her down 
from the sofa. He wheeled round at the 
word, and Miss Jane mounted again. 

" What, mother T 

Mrs. Greatorex dropped her voice reve- 
rently ; and her dark eyes, looking large fi:om 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 79 

illness, had a bright, hopefiil, yearning light 
in them as she spoke. 

" I think he was fit to go." 

" Yes," answered Bede, swallowing a lump 
of emotion. " It is the one drop of comfort 

amidst much darkness. At least . But 

I must keep my word," he added, breaking 
suddenly off, and seizing the child again, as if 
glad of an excuse to cease ; " you go now to 
Miss Ford, young lady." 

She set up a succession of cries. Bede only 
carried her Ly *he 6.t.r. 

" You'U come back and teU me more, Bede," 
said Mrs. Greatorex. 

" I will come by-and-by," he turned to say. 
" I have pressing things to do ; and I have 
not yet spoken with my father. Try and get 
your afternoon's sleep, mother dear." 

Miss Ford, a nursery governess, stood at 
the school-room door, and began to scold her 
pupil as she received her jfrom the hands of 
Mr. Bede Greatorex. He shut himself into his 
room for a few minutes, and then descended 
the stairs in deep thought. He had begun to 
ask himself whether the worst could not be 
kept jfrom his mother ; not for very long could 
she be spared to them now. 

Mr. Greatorex was then coming out of the 
dining-room. He shook hands with his son. 



80 ROLAND YORKE. 

and they went back and sat down together. 
Bede grew quite agitated at the task before 
him. He hated to inflict pain ; he knew that 
John OUivera had been dear to his father, and 
that the blow would be keenly felt. All the 
news as yet sent up by him to Bedford Square 
was, that John was dead. 

Whence, then, that grey look on his father's 
face? — the haggard mouth, the troubled, 
shrinking eyes, going searchingly out to 
Bede's? Mr. Greatorex was a fresh-looking 
man in general, with a healthy colour and 
smooth brown hair, taU and upright as his 
son. He looked short and shrinking and pale 
now. 

" Bede, how came he to do it ?" 

Something like a relief came into Bede'& 
heart as he heard the words. It was so much 
better for the way to have been paved for 
him I — ^the shock would not be so great. 

" Then you know the particulars, sir." 

" I fear I know the truth, Bede ; not the 
particulars. The Times had a short paragraph 
this morning, saying that John OUivera had 
died by his own hand. Was it so ?" 

Bede gravely nodded. His breath was 
coming and going faster than is consistent 
with inward cahnness. 

" My God !" cried Mr. Greatorex, from be- 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 81 

tween his quivering lips, as he sank into a 
chair, and covered his face with his hands. 
But the sacred word was not spoken in irre- 
verence; no, nor in surprise; rather, as it 
seemed, in the Hght of an appealing prayer. 

"And what could have induced it?" came 
the question presently, as he let his hands 
faU. 

" I had better tell you the whole jfrom the 
beginning," said Bede, " you wiU then " 

" Tell it, of course," interrupted Mr. Greato- 
rex. " Begin at the beguming/' 

Bede stood up, facing the fire ; his elbow 
on the mantel-piece, his back partially turned 
to his father, while he told it : he did not care 
to watch the anguish and horror of the usually 
placid face. He concealed nothing: relating 
how he had reached the City and held an in- 
terview with his cousin ; how he had left him 
after the lapse of an hour, promising to be 
with him in the morning before starting for 
town ; and how he had been aroused from his 
bed by the tidings that John was dead. He 
described the state of the room when found ; 
the pistol lying underneath the hand; the 
note on the table. As well as Bede Greatorex 
could repeat the details, as testified to before 
the coroner— T-and we may be very sure they 

VOL. I. 6 



82 ROLAND YORKE. 

were Implanted with painful exactitude on his 
memory — ^he gave them all faithfully. 

*^ It might have been an accident," urged 
Mr. Greatorex, in an imploring kind of tone, 
as if he wanted to be assured that it was. 

Bede did not answer. 

" I forgot the writiQg, Bede ; I forgot the 
writing,'' said Mr. Greatorex, with a groan. 

" Whatever it might be, whether accident 
or self-intended, it is an awful shame to bury 
him as they are going to do," burst forth 
Bede, in a sudden access of anger. 

And the words served to tell Mr. Greatorex 
what the verdict had been. 

" It is a sin, sir ; yes, it is. I could not 
stay to see it." 

"So it may be, Bede ; but that's the least 
of it, — that's the least of it. I'd as soon 
have behoved myself capable of such a thing 
as that John OUivera was. Oh, John 1 
John 1" 

A painfiil snence. Bede felt glad that his 
task was so far over. 

"His motive, Bede? What could have 
been his motive ?" 

" There was no motive, father ; as far as I 



can see." 



<( 



You were young men together, Bede ; of 
the same pursuits — ^frequent companions ; did 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 83 

you ever suspect he had any care, or embar- 
rassment, or trouble ?" 

" No. He had none, I feel sure." 

" Those first words of the note, as you have 
related them, sound curious," resiimed Mr. 
Greatorex. " What was it that he was try- 
ing to accomplish T 

" We cannot discover ; no clue whatever has 
come to light. It would ahnost seem as 
though he had written them to the air, with- 
out foundation." 

" That would be to say his senses had de- 
serted him." 

" Kene thinks that the head-ache of which 
he had complained may have proceeded from 
some disordered function of the brain, and in- 
duced insanity." 

" Do you think it ?" asked Mr. Greatorex, 
looking at his son. " You were the last perr 
son who saw him alive." 

" I should be glad to think it if I could. 
He was quite calm and collected when I was 
with him ; just as usual." 

** The extraordinary thing to me is^, that 
nobody should have heard the discharge of 
the pistol." 

" The people of the house were all out. 
Even the servant-girl had gone about the 
neighbourhood gossiping." 

6—2 



84 ROLAND YpRKE. 

" It might have been heard in the street/' 

" If the street were quiet, perhaps yes. 
But on assize nights, they tell me, there is an 
unusual deal of out-door bustle." 

Mr. Greatorex sat looking at the fire, and 
revolving the different points of the dreadful 
history. Bede resinned. 

" I was wondering whether the worst of the 
details could be kept from my mother. They 
would try her terribly. She only thinks as 
yet, I find, that he died suddenly." 

" Because she only knows as much as your 
telegram said. It will be impossible to keep 
it fi:om her ; the newspapers will be fiill of it. 
Three times to-day has your mother sent down 
for The Times, and I have returned an ex- 
cuse. There's no help for it, Bede." 

" Then you shall tell her, sir. I can't. It 
must be broken to her by degrees. How was 
it William OUivera was so late in coming 
down ?" he suddenly resumed. " He only 
arrived to-day as I was departiQg." 

" William OUivera was out of town, and 
did not return imtU last night. You have 
said nothing about our cause, Bede." 

" That's all right. It was taken yesterday 
afternoon. Kene led iq the place of John, 
and we got the verdict." 

" Where are John's papers and things ?" 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 85 

^^ His brother and Frank will take charge of 
them. I have his private letters. I thought 
it best to come up to you at once, knowing 
you were in suspense." 

" A suspense that has been grievous since 
I read that paragraph this morning, Bede. I 
have been fit for nothing." 

Neither was Bede that day. Mr. Great- 
orex rose to go to his wife's room, there to 
^nter upon his task, — -just as his son had been 
entering upon it with him. Bede paced the 
carpet for a few minutes alone. It was a 
long room ; the furniture not dark and heavy, 
but light-looking and pleasant to the eye, 
though comprising all the requisites for a 
well-appointed dining-room. Bede took a 
look at himself in the pier-glass, and pushed 
his hair off his forehead — ^his sisters used to 
accuse him of inordinate vanity. And then 
quitted the room and the house. 

He was bending his steps to Lincoln's Inn, 
to the chambers occupied by his cousin. Not 
many yards had he gone, before some one 
darted across the street and pounced upon 
him. 

"Halloa, Greatorex! What's this, that's 
up about OUivera T 

It was a Chancery barrister, who had known 



86 BOLAND YORKE. 

Jolm Ollivera well. Bede Greatorex explained 
ill a few short words, and hurried off. 

" I can't stay to tell you more now," he 
said in apology. " There's a great deal to do 
and to be thought of, and I hardly know whe- 
ther our heads are on our shoulders or off. 
I'm on my way to his chambers to search if 
there may be any paper, or aught else, that 
can throw light on it." 

A hansom passed at the moment, and Bede 
JTmiped into it. He might have met fifty 
questioners, else, and reached his destination 
after dark. The chambers were on the third 
floor, and he went up to them. Mr. Ollivera's 
clerk, a small youth of nineteen, was at his 
post ; and the laimdress, who waited on Mr. 
Ollivera, was there also. The news had 
brought her up in tears. 

Perhaps it was excusable that they should 
both begin upon Mr. Bede Greatorex in their 
thirst for information. Respectfully, of course, 
but eagerly. He responded in a few quiet 
words, and passed into the rooms, the wo- 
man's sobs following him. 

Here was the sitting-room where John saw 
people ; next to it his bed-room ; all in neat 
order. Near the bed was a small mahogany 
stand, and a cushioned chair. On the stand 
lay his Bible — -just as the other one was seen 



GOING HOME WITH THE NEWS. 87 

but yesterday resting on its stand elsewhere. 
Bede knew that his cousin never failed to read 
that Bible, and to fall on his knees before the 
chair, morning and evening. He turned away 
with a groan, and proceeded to his work of 
search. 

Only a casual search to-day ; there was no 
time for minute examination. Just a look 
here and there, lest haply he might come 
upon some paper or letter of elucidation. But 
he could not find any. 

" I am going to lock the rooms up, Jenner,'' 
he said to the clerk. " Things must be left 
as they are until the E/Overend Mr. OUivera 
comes to town. He will have the arrange- 
ment of matters. I don't suppose there's 
any will" 

" Am I to leave the service at once, sir ? — 
now T asked Mr. Jenner, in excessive sur- 
prise. 

"You must leave the rooms now — ^unless 
you would like to be locked up in them,'' re- 
turned Bede Greatorex. " Call in Bedford 
Square to-morrow morning ; we may be able 
to recommend you to something: and per- 
haps you will be wanted here again for a few 
days." 

They quitted the chambers together ; and 
Mr. Bede Greatorex took possession of the 



88 EOLAND YORKE. 

key. " I suppose," lie said to the clerk, as 
they went down, " that you never observed 
any pecuKarity of manner in Mr. Ollivera that 
might tend to induce suspicion of aberration 
of mind T 

The young man turned roimd and stared, 
scarcely taking in the sense of the question. 
Certainly there had not been anything of the 
kind observable in Mr. Ollivera. 

" He was cheerful and sensible always, sir : 
he didn't seem to have a care." 

Bede sighed, and proceeded homeward. A 
recollection came over him, as he went along 
in the dusk, of the last evening he had walked 
home from his cousin's chambers ; it was only 
the night before John had gone on circuit. 
Oh, the contrast between that time and this I 
And Bede thought, in the bitter grief and sor- 
row of the moment, that he would willingly 
forfeit his own life could he recall that of John 
Ollivera. 



CHAPTER V. 

MR. BXJTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 

The bustle of the assizes was over ; the tramp 
and tread and hum had gone out of the 
streets ; the judges, the barristers, and the 
rest of the transitory visitors had departed, to 
hold their assize at the next coimty town. 

A great deal of the bustle and the hum of 
another event had also subsided. It does not 
linger very long when outward proceedings 
are over, and sensational adjuncts have ceased ; 
and Mr. Ollivera, at the best, had been but a 
stranger. The grave where he lay had its 
visitors still ; but his brother and other Mends 
had left for London, carrying his few effects 
with them. Nothing remained to tell of the 
fatal act of the past Monday evening ; but for 
that grave, it might have seemed never to 
have had place in reality. 

The Reverend Mr. OUivera had been firm 
in refusing to admit behef in his brother's 
guilt. He did not pretend to judge how it 



90 BOLAND YORKE. 

might have happened, whether by accident or 
by some enemy's hand ; but he felt convinced 
the death could not have been deliberately 
self-inflicted. It was an impossibility, he 
avowed to Mr. Butterby- — and he was looked 
upon, by that renowned officer, as next door 
to a limatic for his pains. There was no more 
shadow of a doubt on Mr. Butterby's mind 
that the verdict had been in accordance with 
the feicts, than there was on other people's. 

Always excepting Alletha Rye's. She had 
been silent to the public since the avowal at 
the grave ; but, in a dispute with Mrs. Jones, 
had repeated her assertion and behef. Upon 
a report of the display coming to Mrs. Jones's 
ears, that discreet matron — who certainly 
erred on the side of hard, correct, matter-of- 
fact propriety, if on any — attacked her sister 
in no measured terms. There were several 
years between them, and Mrs. Jones consi- 
dered she had a right to do it. Much as Mrs. 
Jones had respected Mr. OUivera in life, she 
entertained no doubt whatever on the subject 
of his death. 

" My opinion is, you must have been crazy," 
came the sharp reprimand. " Go off after 
that tramping tail to the grave ! I wish I'd 
seen you start. A good name's easier lost 
than regained, Alletha Bye." 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 91 

" I am not afraid of losing mine/' was the 
calm rejoinder. 

'* Folks seldom are till they find it gone," 
said Mrs. Jones, tartly. " My goodness ! not 
content with trapesing off there in the middle 
of the night, you must go and make an exhi- 
bition of yourself besides ! — ^kneeling down on 
the damp earth to pray, in the face and eyes 
of all the people ; and then rising to make a 
proclamation, just as if you had been the town 
bellman ! Jones says it struck him dumb." 

Alletha Rye was silent. Perhaps she had 
felt vexed since, that the moment's excitement 
had led her to the act. 

" Who are yoUy that you should put your- 
self up against the verdict ?" resiuned Mrs. 
Jones. " Are you cleverer and sharper than 
the jury, and the coroner, and me, and Mr. 
OUivera's friends, and the rest of the world, 
all of us put together ? There can't be a douht 
upon the point, girl." 

" Let it drop," said Alletha, with a shiver. 

" Drop ! I'd like to see it drop. I'd like 
the remembrance of it to drop out of men's 
minds, but you've took care that shan't be. 
What on earth induced you to go and do it ?" 

" It was a dreadful thing that Mr. Ollivera 
should lie imder the imputation of having 
killed himself," came the answer, after a pause* 



^2 ROLAND YORKE. 

'* Now, you just explain yourself, Alletha 
Rye. You keep harping on that same string, 
about Mr. OUivera ; what grounds have you 

for it r 

The girl's pale face flushed all over. 
" None,'' she presently answered. *^ I've 
never said I had grounds. But there's that 
vivid dream upon me always. He seemed to 
reproach me for not having sooner gone into 
the room to find him ; and I'm sure no self- 
murderer would do that. They'd rather lie 
undiscovered for ever. Had I kept silence," 
she passionately added, " I might have be- 
come haunted." 

Mrs. Jones stared at the speaker with all 
the fiery fervour of her dark, dark eyes. 

" Haimted 1 Haimted by what ?" 

" By Mr. OUivera's spirit ; by remorse. 
Remorse for not doing as I am sure he is 
wishing me to do — clear his memory." 

Mrs. Jones lifted her hands in wonder, and 
for once made no retort. She began to ques- 
tion in real earnest whether the past matters 
had not tiuiied her sister's brain. 

Dicky Jones was present during this passage- 
at-arms, which took place on the Thursday, 
after breakfast. He had just been enduring 
a battery of tongue on his own score ; various 
sins, great and small, being placed before him 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 95 

in glaring colours by his wife, not the least 
heinous of which was the having arrived home 
from his pleasure trip at the unseasonable 
hour of half after one o'clock in the morning. 
In recrimination he had intimated that othera 
of the family could come in at that hour as 
well as himself ; not to do Alletha Rye harmy 
for he was a good-natured man, as people 
given to plenty of peccadilloes are apt to be ;. 
but to make his own crime appear the less. 
And then it all came out ; and Mrs. Jones's 
ears were regaled with AUetha Eye's share in 
the doings at the interment. 

On this same Thursday, but very much 
later in the day, Frank Greatorex and the 
Reverend Mr. OUivera departed from the city, 
having stayed to collect together the papers 
and other effects of the deceased gentleman. 
Which brings us (the night having passed, 
and a great portion of the ensuing day) to the 
opening of the chapter. 

Mr. Butterby sat in his pariour : one of two 
rooms he occupied on the ground floor of a 
private house very near a populous part of the 
city. He was not a police-sergeant ; he was 
not an inspector ; people did not know what 
he was. That he held sway at the police- 
station, and was a very frequent visitor to it, 
everybody saw. But Mr. Butterby had been 



94 BOLAND YORKE. 

SO long in the town that speculation, though 
rife enough at first upon the point, had ceased 
as to what special relations he might hold 
with the law. When any one wanted impor- 
tant assistance, he could, if he chose, apply to 
Mr. Butterby, instead of to the regular police 
inspector ; and, to the mind of the sanguine 
inquirer, that appHcation appeared to consti- 
tute a promise of success. 

Mr. Butterby's parlour faced the street. 
Its one sash window, protected outside by 
shutters thrown back in the day, and by green 
dwarf Venetian blinds and a white roller-blind 
inside, was not a very large one. Neverthe- 
less Mr. Butterby contrived to keep a tolerar 
ble look-out from it on those of his fellow 
citizens who might chance to pass. He gene- 
rally had the white blinds drawn down to 
meet, within an inch, the mahogany top of the 
Venetian ones ; and from that inch of outlet, 
Mr. Butterby, standing up before the window, 
was fond of taking observations. It was an un- 
pretending room, with a faded carpet and rug 
on the floor ; a square table in the middle, a 
large bureau filled with papers in a comer ; 
some books in a case opposite, and a stock of 
newspapers on the top of that ; and a picture 
over the mantel-piece representing Eve offer- 
ing the apple to Adam. 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 95 

Mr. Butterby sat by the fire at his tea, 
taking it thoughtfully. He wore an old green 
coat with short tails sprouting out from the 
waist, not being addicted to fashion in private 
life, and a red-and-black check waistcoat. It 
was Friday eveiung and nearly dusk. He 
had been out on some business all the after- 
noon ; but his thoughts were not fixed on 
that, though it was of sufficient importance ; 
they rested on the circumstances attending 
the death of Mr. Ollivera. 

Before the brother of the deceased quitted 
the town, he had made an appointment with 
Mr. Butterby, and came to it accompanied by 
Frank Greatorex ; the fly, conveying them to 
the station, waiting at the door. The pur- 
port of his visit waa to impress upon that 
officer his fiill conviction that the death was 
not a suicide, and to request that, if anything 
should arise to confirm his opmion. it might 
be followed up. 

"He was a good, pure-minded man; he 
was of calm, clear, practical mind, of sound 
good sense ; he was fond of his profession, 
anxious to excel in it ; hopeful, earnest, and 
without a care in the world,'' Tirged the Re- 
verend Mr. OUivera, with emotion. " How, 
sir, I ask you, could such a man take away 
his own life ?" 



96 ROLAND YORKE. 

Mr. Butterby shook his head. It might be 
unlikely, he acknowledged ; but it was not 
impossible. 

*' I tell you it is impossible/' said Mr. OUi- 
vera. " I hold a full, firm, positive conviction 
that my brother never died, or could have 
died, by his own wilful hands : the certainty 
of it in my mind is so clear as to be like a re- 
velation from heaven. Do you know what I 
did, sir ? I went to the grave at night after 
he was put into it, and read the burial service 
over him." 

" I see you doing it," came the imexpected 
answer of Mr. Butterby. " The surpHce you 
wore was too long for you and covered your 
boots." 

" It belonged to a taller man than I am — 
the Reverend Mr. Yorke," the clergyman ex- 
plained. "But now, sir, do you suppose I 
should have dared to hold that sacred service 
over a man who had wilfully destroyed himself?" 

" But instead of there being proof that he 
did not wilfully destroy himself, there's every 
proof that he did," argued Mr. Butterby. 

" Every apparent proof; I admit that ; but 
I know — I know that the proofs are in some 
strange way false ; not real." 

" The death was real ; the pistol was real ; 
the writing on the note-paper was real" 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 97 

"I know. I cannot pretend to explain 
where the explanation may be hidden ; I can- 
not see how or whence elucidation shall come. 
One suggestion I wiQ make to you, Mr. But- 
terby : it is not clear that no person got ac- 
cess to the drawing-room after the departure 
from it of Mr. Bede Greatorex. At least, to 
my mind. I only mention this thought," con- 
cluded Mr. Ollivera, risuig to close the inter- 
view ; for he had no time to prolong it. 
'* Should you succeed in gleaning anything, 
address a communication to me, to the care of 
Greatorex and Greatorex." 

" Stop a moment," cried Mr. Butterby, as 
they were going out. " Who holds the paper 
that was found on the table ?" 

" I do," said Frank Greatorex. " Some of 
them would have had it destroyed; Kene 
and my brother amidst them ; they could not 
bear to look at it. But I thought my father 
might like to see it first, and took it into my 
own possession." 

A snule crossed the lip of the police agent. 
*^ Considering the two gentlemen you mention 
are in the law, it doesn't say much for their 
forethought, to rush at destroying the only 
proof there may remain to us of anybody else's 
being guilty." 

" But then, you know, they do not admit 

VOL, L 7 



98 ROLAND YORKB. 

that any one else could have been guilty/' 
repUed Frank Greatorex. "At least, my 
brother does not : and Kene only looks upon 
it as a porible case of i^^ Do you 
want to see the paper? I have it in my 
pocket." 

" Perhaps you'd not mind leaving it with 
me for a day or two/' said Mr. Butterby. 
" I'll forward it up safe to you when I've done 
with it." 

Frank Greatorex took the paper from his 
pocket-book and handed it to the speaker. 
It was folded inside an envelope now. Mr. 
Butterby received possession of it and at- 
tended his guests to the door, where the fly 
was waiting. 

" You'U have to drive fast, Thompson," he 
said to the man. And Thompson, touching 
his hat to the oflScer, who was held in some 
awe by the city natives, whipped his horse 
into a canter. 

It was upon this interview that Mr. But- 
terby ruminated as he took his tea on the 
Friday evening. In his own opinion it was 
the most unreasonable thing in the world, 
that anybody should throw doubt upon the 
verdict. Nothing but perversity. He judged 
it — and he was a keen-sighted man — ^to be 
fully in accordance with the facts, as given 



MR. BUTTEKBy IN PRIVATE LIFE. 99 

in evidence. Excepting perhaps in one par- 
ticular. Had he been on the jury he should 
have held out for a verdict of insanity. 

" They are but a set of bumble-heads at 
the best/' soliloquised Mr. Butterby, respect- 
fully alluding to the twelve men who had re- 
turned the verdict, as he took a large bite out 
of his last piece of well-buttered pikelet. 
" Juries for the most part always are : if 
they have got any brains they send them a 
wool-gathering then. Hemming, the butter- 
and-cheese man, told me he did say something 
about insanity ; and he was foreman, too ; but 
the rest of 'em and the coroner wouldn't listen 
to it. It don't much matter, for he got the 
burial rites after all, poor fellow : but if I'd 
been them, I should have gave him the benefit 
of the doubt." 

Stopping in his observations to put the rest 
of the pikelet in his mouth, Mr. Butterby went 
on agaui as he ate it. 

" It might have been that, insanity ; but as 
to the other suspicion, there's no grounds 
whatever for it on the face of things at pre- 
sent. If such is to be raised I shall have 
to set to work and hunt 'em up. Create 'em 
as it were. * Don't spare money,' says that 
young clergyman last night when he sat here; 
*your expenses shaU be reimbiu'sed to you 

r— 2 



100 BOLAND YORKK 

with interest/ As if I could make a case 
out of nothing ! I'm not a French Procureur- 
Imperial." 

Drinking down his tea at a draught, Mr. 
Butterby tried the tea-pot, lest a drop might 
be left in it stiU, turning it nearly upside down 
in the process. The result was, that the lid 
came open and a shower of tea-leaves de- 
scended on the tray. 

" Bother !" said Mr. Butterby, as he hastily 
set the tearpot in its place, aad went on with 
his arguments. 

"There's something odd about the case, 
though, straightforward as it seems ; and I've 
thought so from the first. That girl's dream, 
for example, which she says she had ; and her 
conduct at the grave. It was curious that Dicky 
Jones should just be looking on at her," added 
Mr. Butterby, slightly diverging from the 
direct line of consecutive thought : " curious 
that Dicky should have come up then at all. 
First, Alletha Rye vows he didn't do it ; and, 
next, the parson vows it, Reverend Ollivera. 
Kene, too — ^but he points to insanity; and 
now the young fellow, Francis Greatorex. 
Suppose I go over the case again ?" 

Stretching out his hand, Mr. Butterby 
pulled the bell-rope — an old-fashioned twisted 



MR. BUTTEKBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 101 

blue cord with a handle at the end ; and a 
joung servant came in. 

" Shut the shutters," said he. 

While this was in process, he took two 
candles from the mantel-piece, and lighted 
them. The girl went away with the tea-tray. 
He then unlocked his bureau, and from one of 
its pigeon-holes brought forth a few papers, 
memoranda, and the like, which he studied in 
sUence, one after the other. 

" The parson's right," he began presently ; 
" if there is a loophole it's where he said — 
tibat somebody got into the room after the 
departiH'e of Mr. Greatorex. Let's sum the 
points up." 

Drawing his chair close to the table on 
which the papers lay, Mr. Butterby began to 
tell the case through, striking his two fore- 
fingers alternatively on the table's edge as 
each point came flowing from his tongue. 
Not that " flowing" is precisely the best word 
to apply, for his speech was thoughtfully slow, 
and the words dropped with hesitation. 

" John OUivera^ counsel-at-law. He comes 
in on the Saturday with the other barristers, 
ready for the 'sizes. Has a cause or two 
coming on at 'em, in which he expects to 
shine. Goes to former lodgings at Jones's, 
and shows himself as fiill of sense and sanity 



102 ROLAND YORKE. 

as usual ; and he'd got his share of both. 
Spends Saturday evening at his friend's, Mrs. 
JoUffe's, the colonel's widow ; is sweet, Mrs. 
Jones thinks, on one of the young ladies ; 
thought so when he was down last October. 
Gets home at ten like a decent man, works at 
his papers till twelve, and goes to bed.*' 

Mr. Butterby made a pause here, both his 
fingers resting on the table. Giving a nod, 
as if his reflections were satisfactory, he lifted 
hi, hand, and began again. 

" Stmday. Attends public worship and 
takes the sacrament. Tliafs not like the 
act of one who knows he is on the eve of a 
bad deed. Attends again after breakfast, 
with the judges, and hears the sheriff's chap- 
lain preach. (And it was not a bad sermon, 
as sermons go," critically pronounced Mr. But- 
terby in a parenthesis). " Attends again in 
the afternoon to hear the anthem, the Miss 
Joliffes with him. Dines at Jones's at five, 
spends evening at Joliffes'. Home early, and 
to bed." 

Once more the hands were lifted. Once 
more their owner paused in thought. He 
gave two nods this time, and resiuned. 

" Monday. Up before eight. Has his 
breakfast (bacon and eggs), and goes to the 
Nisi Prius Court. Stays there till past three 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 103 

in the afternoon, tells Kene lie must go out of 
court to keep an appointment that wasn't a 
particularly pleasant one, and goes out. Ar- 
rives at Jones's at half-past four ; passes Mrs. 
Jones in that there small back hall of theirs ; 
she tells him he looks tired ; answers that he 
is tired and has got a headache ; court was 
close. Goes up to his sitting-room and gets 
his papers about ; (papers foimd afterwards, 
on examination, to relate to the cause coming 
on on Tuesday morning). Girl takes up his 
dinner ; he eats it, gets to his papers again, 
and she fetches things away. Rings for his 
lamp early, quarter-past six may be, nearly 
daylight still ; while girl puts it on table, 
draws down bUnds himself as if in a hurry 
to be at work again. Close upon this Mr. 
Bede Greatorex calls, (good firm that, Greato- 
rex and Greatorex," interspersed Mr. But- 
terby, with professional candour). " Bede 
Greatorex has come down direct from Lon- 
don (sent by old Greatorex) to confer with 
Ollivera on the Tuesday's cause. Stays with 
him more than an hour. Makes an appoint- 
ment with him for Tuesday morning. Jones's 
nephew, going up stairs at the time, hears 
them making it, and shows Mr. Bede Greato- 
rex out. Might be half-past seven then, or 
two or three minutes over it ; call it half-past. 



104 ROLAND YORKE. 

Ollivera never seen again alive. Found dead 
next morning in arm-cliair ; pistol fallen from 
right hand, shot penetrated heart. Same 
chair he had been sitting in when at his 
papers, but drawn aside now at comer of 
table. AUetha Rye finds him. TeUs a cock- 
and-bull tale of having been frightened by a 
dream. Dreamt he was in the sitting-room 
dead, and goes to see {she says) that he 
was not there, dead. Finds him there dead, 
however, just as {she says) she saw him in 
her dream. Servant rushes out for doctor, 
meets me, and I am the first in the room. 
Doctor comes, Hurst ; Kene comes, Jones's 
nephew fetching him ; then Kene fetches Bede 
Greatorex. Doctor says death must have 
took place previous evening not later than 
eight o'clock. Mrs. Jones says lamp couldn't 
have burnt much more than an hoiu- : is posi- 
tive it didn't exceed an hour and a half; but 
she's one of the positive ones at all times, and 
women's judgment is fallible. Now then, let's 
stop." 

Mr. Butterby put his hands one over the 
other, and looked down upon them, pausing 
before he spoke again. 

" It draws the space into an imcommon 
narrow nutshell. When Bede Greatorex 
leaves at half-past seven, Ollivera is alive and 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 105 

well — as he and Joneses nephew both testify 
to — and, according to the evidence of the 
surgeon, and the negative testimony of the 
oil in the lamp, he is dead by eight. If he 
did not draw the pistol on himself, somebody 
came in and shot him. 

" Did he draw it on himself? I say Yes. 
Coroner and jury say Yes. The public say 
Yes. Alletha Rye and the Reverend Olli- 
vera say No. If we are all wrong — and I 
don't say but that there's just a loophole of 
possibihty of it— and them two axe right, 
why then it was murder. And done with un- 
common craftiness. Let's look at the writing. 

^' Those high-class lawyers are not good for 
much in criminal cases, can't see an inch be- 
yond their noses ; they don't practise at the 
Old Bailey, they don't," remarked Mr. But- 
terby, as he took from the papers before him 
the unfinished note found on Mr. OUivera's 
table, the loan of which he had begged from 
Frank Greatorex. " The idea of their pro- 
posing to destroy this, because ^ they couldn't 
bear to look at it !' Kene, too ; and Bede 
Greatorex ! they might have known better. 
ni t^ke care of it now." 

Holding it close to one of the candles, the 
detective scanned it long and intently, com- 
paring the concluding words, uneven, blotted. 



106 ROLAND YORKE. 

as if written with an agitated hand, with the 
plain collected characters of the lines that 
were undoubtedly Mr. Ollivera's. When he 
did arrive at a conclusion it was a summary 
one, and he put down the paper with an em- 
phatic thiunp. 

"May I be shot myself if I believe the two 
writings is by the same hand !" 

Mr. Butterby's surprise may plead excuse 
for his grammar. He had never, until this 
moment, doubted that the writing was all 
done by one person. 

" I'll show this to an expert. People don't 
write the same at all times; they'll make 
their capitals quite different in the same day, 
as anybody with any experience knows. But 
they don't often make their small letters dif- 
ferent — ^neither do men study to alter their 
usual formation of letters when about to shoot 
themselves ; the pen does its work then, spon- 
taneous ; natiH'ally. These small letters are dif- 
ferent, several of them, the r, the p, the e, the 
0, the d ; all them are as opposite as light and 
dark, and I don't think the last was written 
by Mr. Ollivera." 

It was a grave conclusion to come to ; par- 
tially startling even him, who was too much 
at home with crime and criminals to be star- 
tled easily. 



MR. BTJTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 107 

** Let's assume that it is so for a bit, and 
see how it works that way/' resumed the offi« 
cer. " WeVe all been mistaken, let's say ; 
Ollivera did not shoot himself, some one goes in 
and shoots him. Was it man or woman ; was 
it an inmate of the house, or not an inmate ? 
How came it to be done ? what was the lead- 
ing cause ? Was the pistol (lying convenient 
on the table) took up incidental in the course 
of talking and fired by misadventure? — Or 
did they get to quarrelling and the other shot 
him of malice ? — Or was it a planned, deli- 
berate murder, one stealing in to do it in cold 
blood ? Halt a bit here, Jonas Butterby. 
The first — done in misadventure ? No : if 
any honest man had so shot another, he'd be 
the first to run out and get a doctor to him. 
No. Disposed o£ The second — done in 
malice during a quarrel ? Yes ; might have 
been. The third — done in planned delibera- 
tion ? That would be the most likely of all^ 
but for the fact (very curious fact in the sup- 
position) of the pistol's having been Mr. OUi- 
vera's, and put (so to say) ready there to hand. 
Looking at it in either of these two views, 
there's mystery. The last in regard to the 
point now mentioned ; the other in regard to 
the secrecy with which the intruder must 
have got in. If that dratted girl had been 



108 ROLAND YOEKE. 

at her post indoors, as she ought to have been, 
with the chain of the door up, it might never 
have happened," concluded Mr. Butterby, with 
acrimony. 

" Between half-past seven and eight ? 
Needn't look much before or much beyond 
that hour. Girl says nobody went into the 
house at all, except Jones's nephew, and 
Jones's sister-in-law. Jones's nephew did not 
stay ; he got his book and went off again at 
half-past seven, close on the heels of Bede 
Greatorex, Mr. Ollivera being then aHve. 
Presently, nearer eight, Alletha Rye goes in, 
for a pattern, she says, and she stays upstairs, 
according to the girl's statement, a quarter of 
an hour." 

Mr. Butterby came to a sudden pause. He 
fa^ed the fire now, and sat staring into it as 
if he were searching for what he could not see. 

" It does not take a quarter of an hoiu- to 
get a pattern. / should say not. And there 
was her queer dream, too. Leastways, the 
queer assertion that she had a dream. Dreams, 
indeed! — ^moonshine. Did she invent that 
dream as an excuse for having gone into the 
room to find him ? And then look at her per- 
sistence from the first that it was not a sui- 
cide ! And her queer state of mind and man- 
ners since ! Dicky Jones told me last night 



MR. BUTTERBY IN PRIVATE LIFE. 109 

when I met him by the hop-market, that she 
says she's haunted by Mr. OUivera's spirit. 
Why should she be, I wonder ? I mean, why 
should she fancy it ? It's odd ; very odd. 
The young woman, up to now, has always 
shown out sensible, in the short whUe thi& 
city has known her. 

" That Godfrey Pitman," resumed the 
speaker. " The way that man's name got 
brought up by the servant-girl was sudden. 
I should like to know who he is, and what his 
business might have been. He was in hiding ; 
that's what he was. Stopping in-doors for a 
cold and a relaxed throat ! No doubt ! But 
it does not follow that because he might have 
been in some trouble of his own, he had any- 
thing to do with the other business ; and, in 
fact, he couldn't have had, leaving by the five 
o'clock train for Birmingham. So we'll dis- 
miss him, 

" And now for the result V concluded Mr. 
Butterby, with great deliberation. " The re- 
sult is that I feel inclined to think the young 
parson may be right in saying it was not a 
suicide. What it was, I can't yet make my 
mind up to give an opinion upon. Suppose I 
inquire into things a bit in a quiet manner ? 
— and, to begin with,^ I'll make a friendly call 
on Dicky Jones and madam. She won't an- 



110 ROLAND YOKKE. 

Bwer anything that it does not please her to, 
and it never pleases her to be questioned ; on 
the other hand, what she does choose to say 
is to be reUed upon, for she'd not tell a lie to 
save herself from hanging. As to Dicky — 
with that long tongue of his, he can be pumped 

dry." 

Mr. Butterby locked up his papers, changed 
his ornamental coat for a black one, flattened 
down the coal on his fire, blew out the can- 
dles, took his hat, and went away. 



CHAPTEK VL 



GODFREY PITMAN. 



Mrs. Jones was in her parlour, doing nothing ; 
-with the exception of dropping a tart obser- 
vation from her lips occasionally. As the in- 
telligent reader cannot have feiled to observe, 
tartness in regard to tongue was essentially 
an element of Mrs. Jones's nature ; when any- 
thing occurred to annoy her, its signs increased 
four-fold ; and something had just happened 
to annoy her very exceedingly. 

The parlour was not large, but convenient 
and well fitted-up. A good fire burnt in the 
grate, throwing its ruddy light on the bright 
colours of the crimson carpet and hearth-rug ; 
on the small sideboard, with its array of glass ; 
on the horsehair chairs, on the crimson cloth 
covering the centre table, and finally on Mrs. 
Jones herself and on her sister. 

Mrs. Jones sat at the table, some work be- 
fore her, in the shape of sundry packages of 



112 ROLAND YORKE. 

hosiery, brought in from the shop to be ex- 
amined, sorted, and put to rights. But she 
was not doing it. Miss Rye sat on the other 
side the table, stitcMng the seains of a gown- 
body by the Ught of the moderator lamp. The 
shop was just closed. 

It had happened that Dicky Jones, about tea- 
time that evening, had strayed into his next- 
door neighbour's to get a chat : of which light 
interludes to business Dicky Jones was uncom- 
monly fond. The bent of the conversation 
fell, naturally enough, on the recent calamity 
in Mr. Jones's house : in fact, Mr. Jones found 
his neighbour devoiuing the fall account of it 
in the Friday evening weekly newspaper, just 
damp from the press. A few minutes, and 
back went Dicky to his own parlour, his 
mouth fall of news : the purport of which was 
that the lodger, Godfrey Pitman, who had 
been supposed to leave the house at half-past 
four, to take the Birmingham train, did not 
really quit it until some two or three hours 
later. 

It had not been Mrs. Jones if she had re- 
frained from telling her husband to hold his 
tongue for a fool ; and of asking furthermore 
whether he had been drinking or dreaming. 
Upon which Dicky gave his authority for 
what he said. Their neighboin*, Thomas 



GODFREY PITMAN. 113 

Cause, had watched the lodger go away later, 
with his own eyes. 

Mr. Cause, a quiet tradesman getting in 
years, was fetched in, and a skirmish ensued. 
He asserted that he had seen the lodger come 
out of the house and go up the street by 
lamplight, carrying his blue bag ; and he per- 
sisted in the assertion, in spite of Mrs. Jones's 
tongue. She declared he had not seen any- 
thing of the sort ; that either his spectacles 
or the street lights had deceived him. And 
neither of them would give in to the other. 

Leaving matters in this unsatisfactory state, 
the neighbom* went out again. Mrs. Jones 
exploded a little, and then had leisure to look 
at her sister, who had sat still and silent 
dining the discussion. StUl and sUeht she 
remained ; but her face had turned white, and 
her eyes wore a wild, frightened expression. 

'^ What on earth's the matter with you T 
demanded Mrs. Jones. 

" Nothing," said Miss Rye, catching hold of 
her work with nervous, trembling fingers. 
^^ Only I can't bear to hear it spoken o£" 

" If Mr. Pitman didn't go away till later, 
that accounts for the tallow-grease in his 
room," suddenly interposed Susan Marks, who, 
passing into the parlour, caught the thread of 
the matter in dispute. 

VOL. I. 8 



114 BOLAND YOBKR 

Mrs. Jones turned upon her. "Tallow- 
grease 1" 

"I didn't see it till tliis afternoon," ex- 
plained the girl. " With all the commotion 
there has been in the house, I never as much as 
opened the room-door till to-day since Mr. Pit- 
man went out of it. The first thing I see was 
the carpet covered in drops of tallow-grease ; 
a whole colony of them : and I know they 
were not there on the Monday afternoon. 
They be there stilL'' 

Mrs. Jones went up-stairs at once, the maid 
following her. Sure enough the grease drops 
were there. Some lay on the square piece of 
carpet, some on the boarded floor ; but all 
were very near together. The candlestick 
and candle, from which they had no doubt 
dropped, stood on the wash-hand-stand at Mrs. 
Jones's elbow, as she wrathfuUy gazed, 

" He must have been lighting of his candle 
sideways,'' remarked the girl to her mistress ; 
" or else have held it askew while hunting for 
something on the floor. If he stopped as late 
as old Cause says, why in course he'd need a 
candle." 

Mrs. Jones went down again, her temper by 
no means improved. She did not like to be 
deceived or treated as though she were no- 
body ; neither did she choose that her house 






GODFREY PITMAN. 115 

should be played with. If the lodger missed 
his train (as she now supposed he might have 
done) and came back to wait for a later one, 
his duty was to have announced himself, and 
asked leave to stay. In spite, however, of 
the taUow and of Mr. Cause, she put but 
little faith iq the matter. Shortly after this 
there came a ring at the side-door, and Mr. 
Butterby's voice was heard in the passage. 

*^ Don't say anything to him about it," said 
Miss Rye hastily, in a low tone. 

'* About what?" demanded Mrs. Jones, 
aloud, 

" About that yoimg man's not goiQg away 
as soon as we thought he did. It's nothing 
to Butterby." 

There was no time for more. Mr. Butterby 
was shown in and came forward with a small 
present for Mrs. Jones. It was only a bunch 
of violets ; but Mrs. Jones, in spite of her 
tartness, was fond of flowers, and received 
them graciously : calling to Susan to bring a 
wine-glass of water. 

" I passed a chap at the top of High Street 
with a basket-full ; he said he'd sold but two 
bunches all the evening, so I took a bunch," 
explained Mr. Butterby. *^ It was that gar- 
dener's man. Heed, who met with the accident 
and has been unfit for work since. Knowing 

8—2 



116 ROLAND YORKE. 

you liked violets, Mrs. Jones, I thought I "d 
just call in with them." 

He sat down in the chair, offered hitn, by 
the fire, putting his hat in the comer behind. 
Miss Rye, after saluting him, had resumed 
work, and sat with her face turned to the 
table, partially away from his view; Mrs. 
Jones, at the other side of the table, fiu^ed 
him. 

" Where's Jones ?" asked Mr. Butterby. 

"Jones is off, as usual," repUed Jones's 
wife. " No good to ask where he is after the 
shop's shut ; often not before it." 

It was an imlucky question, bringing back 
all the acrimony which the violets had par- 
tially soothed away. Mr. Butterby coughed, 
and began talking of recent events in a so- 
ciable, friendly manner, just as if he had been 
Mrs. Jones's brother, and never in his life 
heard of so rare an animal as a detective. 

" It's an imcommon annoying thing to have 
had happen in your house, Mrs. Jones ! As 
if it couldn't as well have took place in any- 
body else's ! There's enough barristers lodg- 
ing in the town at assize time, I hope. But 
there ! luck's everything. I'd have given five 
shillings out of my pocket to have stopped 

it." 

" So would I ; for his sake as well as for 



GODFREY PITMAN. 117 

mine/' was Mrs. Jones's answer. And she 
seized one of the parcels of stockings, and 
jerked off the string. 

" Have you had any more dreams, Miss 
Eye r 

" No," replied Miss Eye, holding her stitch- 
ing closer to the hght for a moment. *^ That 
one was enough." 

" Dreams is curious things ; not to be 
despised," observed crafty Mr. Butterby ; than 
whom there was not a man living despised 
dreams, as well as those who professed to 
have them, more than he. *' But I've knowed 
so-called dreams to be nothing in the world 
but waking thoughts. Are you siu:e that one 
of yours was a dream. Miss Bye ?" 

" I would rather not talk of it, if you 
please," she said. "Talking cannot bring 
Mr. OUivera back to life." 

" What makes you persist in thinking he 
did not kiU himself?" 

Mr. Butterby had gradually edged his chair 
forward on the hearthrug, so as to obtain a 
side view of Miss Bye's face. Perhaps he 
was surprised, perhaps not, to see it suddenly 
flush, and then become deadly pale. 

" Just look here, Miss Bye. If he did not 
do it, somebody else did. And I should like 
to glean a little insight as to whether or not 



118 BOLAND YORKR 

there axe grounds for that new light, if there's 
any to be gleaned." 

" Why, what on earth I are you taking up 
that crotchet, Butterby ?" 

The interruption came from Mrs. Jones. 
That goes without telling, as the French say. 
Mr. Butterby turned to warm his hands at 
the blaze, speaking mildly enough to disarm 
an enemy. 

" Not I. I should like to show your sister 
that her suspicions are wrong: she'U worrit 
herself into a skeleton, else. See here : what- 
ever happened, and how ever it happened, it 
must have been between half-past seven and 
eight. You were in the place part of that 
half-hour. Miss Rye, and heard nobody." 

" I have already said so." 

" Shut up in your room at the top of the 
house ; looking for — what was it ? — a par- 
cel r 

" A pattern — a pattern of a sleeve. But I 
had to open parcels, for I could not find it, 
and stayed searching. It had slipped between 
one drawer and another at the back." 

" It must have took you some time," re- 
marked Mr. Butterby, keeping his face on the 
genial fire and his eyes on Miss Rye. 

" I suppose it did. Susan says I was up- 
stairs a quarter of an hour, but I don't think 



GODFREY PITMAK. 119 

it was so long as that. Eight o'clock struck 
after I got back to Mrs. Wilson's.'' 

Mr. Butterby paused. Miss Rye resumed 
after a minute. 

" I don't think anyone could have come in 
legitimately without my hearing them on the 
stairs. My room is not at the top of the 
house, it is on the same floor as Mrs. Jones's ; 
the back room, inmiediately over the bed- 
room that was occupied by Mr. OUivera. My 
door was open, and the drawers in which I 
was searching stood close to it. If any " 

*'What d'ye mean by legitimate?" inter- 
rupted Mr. Butterby, turning to take a full 
look at the speaker. 

" Openly ; with the noise one usually makes 
in coming up stairs. But if any one crept up 
secretly, of course I should not have heard it. 
Susan persists in declaring she never lost 
sight of the front door at all ; I don't believe 
her." 

" Nobody does believe her," snapped Mrs. 
Jones, with a fling at the socks. " She con- 
fesses now that she ran in twice or thrice to 
look to the fires." 

*' Oh ! she does, does she," cried Mr. But- 
terby. " Leaviog the door open, I suppose ?" 

"Leaving it to take care of itself She 
says she shut it ; I say I know she didn't. 



120 . ROLAND YORKE. 

Put it at the best, it was not fastened ; and 
anybody might have opened it and walked 
iQ that had a mind to, and robbed the 
house/' 

The visitor, sitting so imobtrusively by the 
fire, thought he discerned a little glimmer of 
possibility breaking in amidst the utter dark- 
ness. 

" But, as the house was not robbed, why 
we must conclude nobody did come in," he 
observed. "As to the verdict — I don't see 
yet any reason for Miss Rye's disputing it. 
Mr. Ollivera was a favourite, I suppose." 

The remark did not please Miss Rye. Her 
cheek flushed, her work fell, and she rose from 
her seat to turn on Mr. Butterby. 

" The verdict was a wrong verdict. Mr, 
Ollivera was a good and brave and just man. 
Never a better went out of the world." 

" If I don't beheve you were in love with 
him !" cried Mr. Butterby. 

" Perhaps I was," came the imexpected 
answer ; but the speaker seemed to be in too 
much agitation to heed greatly what she said. 
" It would not have hurt either him or me." 

Gathering her work, cotton, scissors in her 
hands, she went out of the room. At the 
same moment there arrived an influx of female 
visitors, come, without ceremony, to get an 



GODFREY PITMAN. 121 

hour's chat with Mrs. Jones. Catching up 
his hat, Mr. Butterby dexterously slipped out 
and disappeared. 

The street was tolerably empty. He took 
up his position at the edge of the feeing 
pavement, and surveyed the house critically. 
As if he did not know aU its aspects by heart I 
Some few yards higher up, the dwellings of Mr. 
Cause and the linendraper alone intervening^ 
there was a side opening, bearing the eupho- 
nious title of Bear Entry, which led right into 
an obscure part of the town. By taking this, 
and executing a few turnings and windings, 
the railway station might be approached with- 
out touching on the more pubhc streets. 

" Yes," said the pohce agent to himself, cal- 
culating possibilities, "that's how it might 
have been done. Not that it was, though : 
I'm only putting it. A fellow might have 
slipped out of the door while that girl was in 
at her fires, cut down Bear Entry, double 
back again along Goose Lane, and so gain the 
rail." 

Turning up the street with a brisk step, 
Mr. Butterby found himself face to face with 
Thomas Cause, who was standing within the 
shade of his side door. Exceedingly affable 
when it suited him to be so, he stopped to 
say a good evening. 



122 BOLAND YORKE. 

*' How d'ye do, Cause ? A fine night, isn't 

itr 

"Lovely weather; shall pay for it later. 
Has she recovered her temper yet ?" continued 
Mr. Cause. " I saw you come out." 

Which was decidedly a rather mysterious 
addition to the answer. Mr. Butterby natu- 
raUy enquired what it might mean, and had 
his ears gratified with the story of Godfrey 
Pitman's later departure, and of Mrs. Jones's 
aingiy disbehef in it Never had those ears 
listened more keenly. 

" Are you sure it was the man ?" he asked 
cautiously. 

"If it wasn't him it was his ghost," said 
Mr. Cause. *^I was standing here on the 
Monday night, just a step or two for'arder on 
the pavement, little thinking that a poor gen- 
tleman was shooting himself within a few yards 
of me, and saw a man come out of Jones's 
side door. When he was close up, I knew 
him in a moment for the same traveller, with 
the same blue bag in his hand, that I saw go in 
with Miss Rye on the Sunday week previous. 
He came out of the house cautiously, his head 
pushed forward first, looking up the street 
and down the street, and then turned out 
sharp, whisked past me as hard as he could 



GODFREY PITMAN. 123 

walk, and went down Bear Entry. It seemed 
to me that he didn't care to be seen." 

But that detectives' hearts are too hard for 
emotion, this one's might have beaten a little 
faster as he listened. It was so exactly what 
he had been fancifully tracing to himself as 
the imaginary coiu^e of a guilty man. Steal- 
ing out of the house down Bear Entry, and so 
up to the railway station ! 

" What time was it V 

" What time is it now ?" returned Mr. 
Cause : and the other took out his watch. 

" Five-and-thirty minutes past seven." 

" Then it was as nigh the same time on 
Monday night, as nigh as nigh can be. I 
shut up my shop at the usual hour, and I'd 
stood here afterwards just about as long as 
I've stood here now. I like to take a breath 
of fresh air, Mr. Butterby, when the labours 
of the day are over." 

" Fresh air's good for all of us — ^that can 
get it," said Mr. Butterby, with a sniff at the 
air around him. " What sort of a looking 
man was this Godfrey Pitman ?" 

" A well-grown, straight man ; got a lot of 
black hair about his face ; whiskers, and beard, 
and moustachios." 

'' Young ?" 

" Thirty. Perhaps not so much. In read- 



124 ROLAND YORKE. 

ing the account in the Herald this evening, I 
saw Jones's folks gave evidence that he had 
left at half-past four to catch the Birmingham 
train. I told Jones it was a mistake, and he 
told his wife ; and didn't she fly out ! As if 
she need have put herself in a tantrum over 
that ! 'twas a matter of no consequence." 

In common with the rest of the town, not 
a gleam of suspicion that the death was other- 
wise than the verdict pronounced it to be, had 
been admitted by Mr. Cause. He went on 
enlarging on the grievance of Mrs. Jones's 
attack upon him. 

" She'd not hear a word : Jones fetched me 
in there. She told me to my fece that, be- 
tween spectacles and the deceitful rays of 
street lamps, one, come to my age, was unable 
to distinguish black from white, round from 
square. She said I must have mistaken the 
gentleman, Mr. Greatorex, for Godfrey Pit- 
man, or else Jones's nephew, both of them 
having gone out about the same time. I 
couldn't get in a word edgeways, I assiu-e you, 
Mr. Butterby, and Dicky Jones can bear me 
out that I couldn't. Let it go; 'tis of no 
moment ; I don't care to quarrel with my 
neighbours' wives." 

Mr. Butterby thought it was of a great 
deal of moment. He changed the conversa- 



GODFREY PITMAN. 125 

tion to sometliing else with apparent careless-^ 
ness, and then took a leisurely departure. 
Turning off at the top of High Street, he in- 
creased his pace, and went direct to the rail- 
way station. 

The most iatelligent porter employed there 
was a man named Hall. It was his duty to 
be on the platform when trains were starting ; 
and, as the detective had previous cause to 
know, few of those who departed by them 
escaped his observation. The eight o'clock 
tram for London was on the point of departure. 
Mr. Butterby waited under some sheds until 
it had gone. 

Now for HaU, thought he. As if to echo 
the words, the first person to approach the 
sheds was HaU himself. In a diplomatic way, 
Mr. Butterby, when he had made known his 
presence, began putting enquiries about a 
matter totally foreign to the one he had come 
upon. 

" By the way, HaU,'' he suddenly said, when 
the man thought he was done with, " there 
was a fiiend of mine went away last Monday 
evening, but I'm not sure by which train. I 
wonder if you happened to see him here ? A 
weU-grown, straight man, with black beard 
and whiskers — ^about thirty." 

HaU considered, and shook his head. " I've 



126 ROLAND YORKE. 

no recollection of any one of that description. 



BIX. 



Got a blue bag in bis band He migbt 
bave went by tbe five o'clock traia, or later. 
At eigbt most likely ; tbis bonr, you know." 

"Was be going to London, or tbe otber 
way, sir V 

'' Can't tell you. Try and recollect. " 

"Monday? — ^Monday?" cried Hall, endea- 
vouring to recal wbat be could. " I ougbt to 
remember tbat nigbt, sir, tbe one of tbe 
calamity in Higb Street ; but tbe fact is, one 
day is so mucb like anotber bere, it's bard to 
single out any in particular." 

" Were you on duty last Simday week, in 
tbe afternoon ?" 

" Yes, sir ; it was my Sunday on.'' 

" Tbe man I speak of arrived by train tbat 
afternoon, tben. You must bave seen bim." 

" So I did," said tbe porter, suddenly. 
" Just tbe man you describe, sir ; and I re- 
member tbat it struck me I bad seen bis face 
somewbere before. It migbt bave been only 
fancy ; I bad not mucb of a look at bim ; be 
got mixed witb tbe otber passengers, and 
went away quickly. I recollect tbe blue 
bag." 

" Just so ; all rigbt. Now tben. Hall : 
did you see bim leave last Monday evening ?" 



GODFREY PITMAN. 127 

" I never saw him, to my recollection, since 
the time of his arrival. Stop a bit. A blue 

bag ? Why, it was a blue bag that ^And 

that was Monday evening. Wait an instant, 
sir. 101 fetch Bill'' 

Leaving the detective to make the most of 
these detached sentences. Hall hurried off 
before he could be stopped. Mr. Butterby 
turned his face to the wall, and read the pla- 
cards there. 

When Hall came back he had a lad with 
him. And possibly it might have been well 
for that lad's equanimity, that he was imcon- 
scious the spare man, studying the advertise- 
ments, was the city's renowned detective, 
Jonas Butterby. 

'' Now then," said HaQ, " you tell this 
gentleman about your getting that there 
ticket. Bill." 

"'Twas last Monday evening," began the 
boy, thus enjoined, " and we was waiting to 
start the eight o'clock train. In that there 
dark comer, I comes upon a gentleman set 
down upon the bench ; which he called to me, 
he did, and says, says he, * This bag's heavy,' 
says he, ^ and I don't care to carry it further 
nor I can help, nor yet to leave it,' says he, 
* for it's got valuable papers in it,' says he ; 
^ if you'll go and get my ticket for me,' says 



128 BOLAND YORKE. 

he, Hhird class to Oxford/ says he, ^I'U 
give you sixpence/ says he : which I did, and 
took it to him," concluded the speaker ; " and 
he give me the sixpence." 

" Did he leave by the train ?" 

"Why in course he did," was the reply. 
" He got into the last third class at the tail 
o' the train, him and his bag ; wHch were 
blue, it were." 

" An old gentleman, with white hair, was 
it ?" asked Mr. Butterby, carelessly. 

The boy's round eyes opened. " White 
hair ! Why, Was as black as ink. And 
his beard, too. He wam't old ; he wam't." 

Mr. Butterby walked home, ruminating ; 
stirred up his fire when he arrived, Ughted 
his candles, for he had a habit of waiting on 
himself, and sat down, ruminating still. 
Sundry notes and bits of folded paper had 
been delivered for him from his confreres at 
the police-station — ^if Mr. Butterby will not 
be offended at our classing them with him as 
such — ^but he pushed them from him, never 
opening one. He did not even change his 
coat for the elegant green-tailed habit, econo- 
mically adopted for home attire, and he was 
rather particular in doing so in general No : 
Mr. Butterby's mind was ill at ease : not in 
the sense, be it understood, as applied to 



GODFREY PITMAN. 129 

ordinary mortals ; but tilings were puzzling 
him. 

To give Mr. Butterby his due, he was suf- 
ficiently keen of judgment ; though he had 
made mistakes occasionally. Taking the sur- 
face of things only, he might have jumped to 
the conclusion that a certain evil deed had 
been committed by Godfrey Pitman; diving 
into them, and turning them about in his 
practised mind, he saw enough to cause hiTYi 
to doubt and hesitate. 

"The man's name's as much Pitman as 
mine is,'' quoth he, as he sat looking into tho, 
fire, a hand on each knee. " He arrives here 
on a Sunday, accosts a stranger he meets ac- 
cidentally in turning out of the station, which 
happened to be Alletha Rye, and gets her to 
accommodate him with a week's private lodg- 
ings. Thought, she says, the house she was 
standing at was hers : and it's likely he did. 
The man was afraid of being seen, was flying 
from pursuit, and dare not risk the publicity 
of an inn. Stays in the house nine days, and 
never stirs out all the mortal time. Makes 
an excuse of a cold and relaxed throat for 
stopping in ; which was an excuse," emphati- 
cally repeated the speaker. " Takes leave on 
the Monday at half-past four, and goes out to 

VOL. I. 9 



130 EOLAND YOBKE. 

catch the Biimiiigham train. Is seen to go 
out. What brought him back T ' 

The question was not, apparently, easy to 
solve, for Mr. Butterby was a long while pon- 
dering it. 

" He couldn't get back into the house up 
through the windows or down through the 
chimneys ; not in any way but through the 
door. And the chances were that he might 
have been seen going in and coming out. 
No : don't think he went back to harm Mr. 
Ollivera. Bather inclined to say his an- 
nounced intention of starting by the five 
o'clock train to Birmingham was a blind : he 
meant to go by the one at eight t'other way, 
and went back to wait for it, afeard of hang- 
ing about the station itself or loitering in the 
streets. It don't quite wash, neither, that ; 
chances were he might have been seen coming 
back," debated Mr. Butterby. 

" Wonder' if he haa anything to do with 
that Uttle affiiir that has just turned up in 
Birmingham ?" resumed the speaker, deviat- 
ing to another thought. "Young man's 
wanted for that, George Winter : might have 
been this very self-same Godfrey Pitman ; and 
of course might not. Let's get on. 

" It don't stand to reason that he'd come 
in any such way into a town and stop a whole 



GODFREY PITMAN. 131 

week at the top of a house for the purpose of 
harming Mr. Ollivera. Why 'twas not till 
the Tuesday after Pitman was in, that the 
Joneses got the barrister's letter saying he 
was coming and would occupy his old rooms 
if they were vacant. No/' decided Mr. But- 
terby ; " Pitman was in trouble on his own 
score, and his mysterious movements had re- 
ference to that : as I'm inclined to think." 

One prominent quality in Mr. Butterby 
was pertinacity. Let him take up an idea of 
his own accord, however fairit, and it took a 
vast deal to get it out of him. An obstinate 
man was he in his self-conceit. Anybody 
who knew Mr. Butterby well, and could have 
seen his thoughts as in a glass, might have 
known he would be slow to take up the 
doubts agairist Godfrey Pitman, because he 
had already them up against another. 

I don't hke it," he presently resumed. 

Look at it in the best light, she knows 
something of the matter ; more than she likes 
to be questioned about. Put the case, Jonas 
Butterby. Here's a sober, sensible, steady 
yoiuig woman, superior to half the women 
going, thinking only of her regular duties, 
nothing to conceal, open and cheerfiil as the 
day. That's how she was till this happened. 
And now ? Goes home on the Monday night 

9—2 






132 ROLAND YORKE. 

at nigh eleven o'clock (not to speak yet of 
what passed up to that hour), sits over the 
parlour-fire after other folks had went to bed, 
Hhinking,' as she puts it. Goes up later; 
can't sleep ; drops asleep towards morning, 
and dreams that Mr. Ollivera's dead. Gets 
flurried at inquest (/ saw it, though others 
mightn't) ; tramps to see him buried, stands 
on the fresh grave, and tells the pubUc he did 
not commit suicide. How does she know he 
didn't ? Come. Mrs. Jones is ten times 
sharper-sighted, and she has no doubt. Says, 
next, to her sister in confidence (and Dicky 
repeats it to me as a choice bit of gossip) that 
she's haunted by Ollivera's spirit. 

" I don't Uke that," pursued Mr. Butterby, 
after a revolving pause. "When folks are 
haunted by dead men's spirits — ^leastways, 
fancy they are — ^it bodes a conscience not at 
rest in regard to the dead. To-night her face 
was pale and red by turns ; her fingers shook 
so they had to clutch her work ; she won't 
talk of it ; she left the room to avoid me. 
And," continued Mr. Butterby, " she was the 
only one, so far as can be yet seen, that was 
for any length of time in the house between 
half-past seven and eight on Monday evening. 
A quarter of an hour finding a sleeve-pat- 
tern ! 



GODFREY PITMAN. 133 

" I don't say it was her ; IVe not got as 
far as that yet, by a long way. I don't yet 
say it was not as the jury brought it in. But 
she was in the house for that quarter of an 
hour, unaccounting for her stay in accordance 
with any probability ; and Tm incHned to 
think that Godfrey Pitman must have heen 
out of it before the harm was done. Never- 
theless, appearances is deceitful, deductions 
sometimes wrong, and while I keep a sharp 
eye on the lady, I shall look you up, Mr. 
Godfrey Pitman.^' 

One drawback against the "looking up'' 
was — ^and Mr. Butterby felt slightly conscious 
of it as he rose from his seat before the fire 
— ^that he had never seen Godfrey Pitman in 
his life ; and did not know whence he came or 
whither he might have gone. 



END OF THE PROLOGUE. 



PART THE SECOND. 

THE STORY. 



CHAPTER Vn. 



IN THE OFFICE. 



The morning sun was shining on the house of 
Greatorex and Greatorex. It was a busy day 
in April London was filling; people were 
flocking to town; the season was fairly in- 
augurated, the law courts were fiill of life. 

The front door stood open ; the inner door, 
closed, could be pushed back at will. It bore 
a brass plate with the inscription, "Greatorex 
and Greatorex, SoUcitors,'' and it had a habit, 
this inner door, of swinging-to upon cUents' 
heels as they went out, for the spring was 
sharp. In the passage which the door closed 
in, was a room on either hand. The one on 
the left was inscribed outside, "Clerks' Oflfice"; 
that on the right, " Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

Mr. Bede Greatorex was in his room to-day : 
not his private room ; that lay beyond. It was 



IN THE OFFICE. 135 

a moderate-sized apaxtinent, the door in the 
middle, the fire-place opposite to it. On the 
right, between the door and the near window, 
was the desk of Mr. Brown ; opposite to it, 
between the fire-place and far window, stood 
Mr. Bede Greatorex's desk ; two longer desks 
ran along the walls towards the lower part of 
the room. At the one, in a line with that of 
Mr. Bede Greatorex, the fire-place being be- 
tween them, sat Mr. Hurst, a gentleman who 
had entered the house for improvement; at 
the one on the other side the door, in a line 
with Mr. Brown's, sat little Jenner, a paid 
clerk. Sundry stools and chairs stood about ; 
a huge map hung above the fire-place; a 
stone bottle of ink, some letter-scales, and 
various other articles more useful than orna- 
mental, were on the mantle-shelf : altogether, 
the room was about as bare and dull as such 
offices usually are. The door at the end, 
marked " Private,^' opened direct to the pri- 
vate room of Mr. Bede Greatorex, where he 
held consultations with clients. 

And he generally sat there also. It was 
not very often that he came to his desk in the 
firont office : but he chose to be there on occar 
sions, and tliis was one. This side of the house 
was understood to comprise the department of 
Mr. Bede Greatorex ; some of the clients of 



136 ROLAND YORKK 

the firm were his exclusively ; that is, when 
they came they saw him, not his father ; and 
Mr. Brown was head-clerk and manager under 
him. 

Bede Greatorex (called generally in the 
office, " Mr. Bede," in contradistinction to his 
father, Mr. Greatorex) sat looking over some 
papers taken out of his locked desk. Four 
years have gone by since you saw him last, 
reader; for that prologue to the story with 
its sad - event, was not enacted lately. And 
the four years have aged him. His father was 
wont to tell him that he had not got over the 
shock and grief of John Ollivera's death; 
Bede s private opinion was that he never 
should get over it. They had been as close 
friends, as dear brothers ; and Bede had been 
a changed man since. Apart from this grief 
and regret and the effect it might have left 
upon him, suspicions had also arisen latterly 
that Bede Greatorex's health was failing ; in 
short there were indications, fancied or real, 
that the inward complaint of which his mother 
died, might, unless great care were used, creep 
upon him. Bede had seen a physician, who 
would pronounce no very positive opinion, but 
believed on the whole that the fears were 
without foundation, certainly they were pre- 
mat\u:e. 



IN THE OFFICE. 137 

Anotlier cause that tended to worry Mr. 
Bede Greatorex, lay in his domestic life. 
More than three years ago now, he had mar- 
ried Miss Joliffe; and the world, given you 
know to put itself into everybody's business 
and whisper scandal of the best of us, said 
that in marrying her, Bede Greatorex had got 
his piU. She was wiliul as the wind ; spent 
his money right and left; ran him in debt; 
plimged into gaiety, show, whirl, all of which 
her husband hated : she was in fact a perfect^ 
grave exemplification of that undesirable but 
expressive term that threatens to become a 
household word in our once sober land — 
"fast." Three parts of Bede's life — ^the life 
that lay apart from his profession, his routine 
of office duties — ^was spent in striving to keep 
from his father the extravagance of his wife, 
and the sums of money he had to draw for 
personal expenditure. Bede had chivalric 
ideas upon the point; he had made her his 
wife, and would jealously have guarded her 
failings from all : he would have denied, had 
he been questioned, that she had any. So far 
as he was able he would indulge her whims 
and wishes ; but there was one of them that 
he could not and did not : and that related to 
their place of dwelling. Bede had brought his 
wife to the home that had been his mother's. 



138 ROLAND YORKE. 

to be its sole mistress in his late motlier s 
place. It was a large, convenient, handsome 
residence (as was previously seen), replete 
with every comfort; but after a time Mrs. 
Bede Greatorex grew discontented. She 
wanted to be in a more fashionable quarter ; 
Hyde Park, Belgrave Square; anywhere 
amidst the great world. After their marriage 
Bede had taken her abroad; and they re- 
mained so long there that Mr. Greatorex 
began to indulge a private opinion that Bede 
was never coming back again. They sojourned 
in Paris, in Switzerland, in Germany; and 
though, when they at length did return, Bede 
laughingly said he could not get Louisa home, 
he had in point of fact been as ready to linger 
away from it as she was. The Bedford Square 
house had been done up beautifully, and for 
two years Mrs. Bede foimd no fault with it ; 
she had taken to do that lately, and it seemed 
to grow upon her like a mania. 

Upstairs now, now at this very moment, 
when her husband is poring over his law- 
puzzles with bent brow, she is studying the 
advertisements of desirable houses in the 
Times, almost inclined to go out and take one 
on her own account. A charming one (to 
judge by the description) was to be had in 
Park Lane, rent only six himdred a-year, un- 



IN THE OFFICE. 139 

fdmislied. Money was as plentiful as sand in 
the idea of Mrs. Bede Greatorex. 

You can go and see her. Through the pas- 
sages and the intervening door to the other 
house; or eke go out into the street and 
make a call of state at the private entrance. 
Up the wide staircase to the handsome land- 
ing-place abeady told of, with its rich green 
carpet, its painted windows, its miniature con- 
servatory, and its statues ; on aU of which the 
sun is shining as brightly as it was that other 
day four years ago, when Bede Greatorex 
came home, fresh from the unhappy scenes 
connected with the death of Mr. OUivera. Not 
into the dining-room ; there's no one in it ; 
there's no one in the large and beautiful draw- 
ing-room ; enter, first of all, a small apartment 
on the side that they call the study. 

At the table sat Jane Greatorex, grown into 
a damsel of twelve, but exceedingly little and 
childlike in appearance. She was writing 
French dictation. By her side, speaking the 
words in a slow, distinct tone, with a good 
and pure accent, sat a young lady, her face 
one of the sweetest it was ever man's lot to 
look upon. The hazel eyes were deep, honest, 
steady ; the auburn hair lay lightly away from 
delicate and well-carved features ; the com- 
plexion was pure and bright. A slender girl 



140 BOLAND YORKE. 

of middle height, and gentle, winning man- 
ners, whose simple morning dress of light 
cashmere sat well upon her. 

Surely that modest, good, thoughtful young 
woman could not be Mrs. Bede Greatorexl 
No : you must wait yet an instant for intro- 
duction to her. That is only Miss Jane's 
governess, a yoimg lady who has but recently 
entered on her duties as such, and is striving 
to perform them conscientiously. She is very 
patient, although the Kttle girl is excessively 
tiresome, with a strong will of her own, and a 
decided objection to lessons of aU kinds. She 
is the more patient because she remembers 
what a tiresome child she was herself, at that 
age, and the vast amoimt of trouble she gave 
wilfiilly to her sister-governess. 

" No, Jane ; it is not facture ; it mfacteur. 
We are speaking of a postman, you know. 
The two words are essentially different ; dif- 
ferent in meaning, in spelling, and in soimd. 
I explained this to you yesterday.*' 

*' I don't like doing dictation, Miss Chan- 
ning," came the answering response. 

" Go on, please. Le facteiu:, qui " 

" I'm tired to death. I know I've done a 
whole page." 

" You have done three lines. One of these 
days I will give you a whole page to do, and 



IN THE OFFICE. 141 

then you U know what a whole page is. Le 
facteur, qui arrive '' 

Miss Jane Greatorex suddenly took a large 
penfiil of iak, and shook it deliberately on the 
copy-book. Leaving them to the contest, in 
which be you very sure the governess would 
conquer, for she was calm, kiad, and firm, we 
will go to an opposite room, one that Mrs. 
Bede called her boudoir. A beautiful room, 
its paper and panelling of white and gold, its 
velvet carpet of delicate tints, its silk curtains 
of a soft rose-colour. But neither Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex, who sat there, nor her attire was 
in accordance with the room. 

And, to say the truth, she had only come 
down from her chamber to get sometlung left 
in it the night before : it was her favourite 
morning room, but Mrs. Bede was not wont 
to take up her position in it untU made up 
for the day. And that was not yet accom- 
plished. Her dark hair was imtidy, her face 
pale and pasty, her dressing-gown, of a dull 
red with gold sprigs on it, sat loose. Seeing 
the Times on the table, she had caught it up, 
and thrown herself back in a reclining chair 
of satin-wood and pink velvet, while she looked 
over the advertisements. Mrs. Bede Great- 
orex was tail and showy, and there her beauty 
ended. As Louisa Joliffe, she had exercised 



142 BOLAND YORKE. 

a charm of manner that fascinated many, but 
she kept it for rare occasions now ; and, they, 
always pubUc ones. She had no children, and 
her whole life and being were wrapt in fashion, 
frivolity, and heartlessness. The graver 
duties of existence were wholly neglected by 
Louisa Greatorex : she seemed to live in ig- 
norance that such things were. She never so 
much as glanced at the solemn thought that 
there must come a life after this life ; she 
never for a moment strove to work on for it, 
or to help another on the pilgrimage : had she 
chosen to search her memory, it could not have 
returned to her the satisfaction of having ever 
performed a kind action. 

One little specimen of her selfishness, her 
utter disregard for the claims and feelings of 
others, shall be given, for it occurred oppor- 
tunely. As she sat, newspaper in hand, a 
young woman opened the door, and asked 
leave to speak to her. She was the lady V 
maid, and, as Mrs. Bede looked at her, 
knitting her brow at the request, she saw 
tears stealing down from the petitioning 
eyes. 

" Could you please let me go out, madam ? 
A messenger has come to say that my mother 
is taken suddenly worse : they think she is 
dying." 



IN THE OFFICE. 143 

" You can go wlien I am dressed/' replied 
Mrs. Bede Greatorex. 

" Oh, madam, if you could please to let me 
go at once ! I may not be in time to see her. 
Eliza says slie will take my place tliis morn- 
ing, if you will allow her." 

" You can go when I am dressed," was the 
reiterated, cold, and decisive answer. " You 
heax me, Tallet. Shut the door." And the 
maid withdrew, her face working with its vain 
yearning. 

" She's always wanting to go out to her 
mother," harshly spoke Mrs. Bede Greatorex, 
as she settled herself to the newspaper 
again. 

" One ; two ; three ; four ; five. Five 
houses that seem desirable. Bede may say 
what he chooses : in this miserable old house, 
with its professional varnish, we don't stay. 
I'll write at once for particulars," she added, 
going to her writing-table, a costly piece of 
furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl. 

The writing for particulars took her some 
little time, three-quarters of an hour about, 
and then she went up to be dressed ; which 
ceremony occupied nearly an hour longer. 
Tallet might depart then. And thus you 
have a specimen of the goodness of heart of 
Louisa Greatorex. 



144 ROLAND YORKE. 

But this has been a digression from the 
morning's business, and we must return to 
the husband, whose wish and will she would 
have liked to defy, and to the office where he 
sat. The room was very quiet ; nothing to 
be heard in it but the scratching of three pens ; 
Mr. Brown s, Mr. Hurst s, and Mr. Jenner s. 
This room was not entered indiscriminately by 
callers ; the opposite door inscribed " Clerks' 
Office," was on the swing perpetually. This 
room was a very sedate one : as a matter of 
course so in the presence of Mr. Bede Great- 
orex ; and the head of it in his absence, Mr. 
Brown, allowed no opportunity for discursive 
gossip. He was as efficient a clerk as Great- 
orex and Greatorex had ever possessed ; young 
yet : a tall, slender, silent man, devoted to 
his business ; about three years, or so, with 
them now. He wore a wig of reddish brown, 
and his whiskers and the hair on his chin were 
sandy. 

Bede Greatorex shut some papers into his 
desk with a chck, and began opening another 
parchment. " Did you get an answer yester- 
day, from Gamett's people, Mr. Hurst?" he 
suddenly asked. 

" No, sir. I could not see them." 

" Their clerk came in last evening to say 
we shoTild hear from them to-day," interposed 



IN THE OFFICE. 145 

Mr. Brown, looking up from his writing to 
speak. 

It was in these moments — ^when the clerk's 
eyes unexpectedly met those of Mr. Bede 
Greatorex — that the latter would feel a kind 
of disagreeable sensation shoot through him. 
Over and over again had it occurred : the first 
time when Mr. Brown had been in the office 
but a day. They were standing talking to- 
gether on that occasion, when a sudden fancy 
took Bede that he had seen the man some- 
where before. It was not to be called a re- 
cognition ; but a kind of semi-recognition, 
vague, indefinite, uncertain, and accompanied 
by a disagreeable feeling, which had its rise 
perhaps in the very uncertainty. 

" Have we ever met before V Mr. Bede 
Greatorex had questioned; but Mr. Brown 
shook his head, and could not say. A hun- 
dred tunes since then, when he met the steady 
gaze of those remarkably light grey eyes 
(nearly always bent on their work), had Bede 
stealthily continued to study the man ; but 
the puzzle was always there. 

Mr. Brown's eyes and face were bent on his 
desk again to-day. His master, holding a 
sheet of parchment up before him, as if to 
study the writing better, suffered his gaze to 

VOL. I. 10 



146 ROLAND YORKE. 

wander over its top and fix itself on Mr. 
Brown. The clerk, happening to glance up 
unguardedly, caught it. 

He was one of the most observant men 
living, quiet though he seemed, and could not 
fell to be aware that he was thus occasionally 
subjected to the scrutiny of his master-but 
he never appeared to see it. 

" Did you speak, sir T he asked, as if he 
had looked up to ask the question. 

"I was about to speak,'' said Mr. Bede 
Greatorex. " There's a new clerk coming in 
to-day to replace Parkiason. Nine o'clock 
was the hour fixed, and now it is half-past ten. 
If this is a specimen of his habits of punc- 
tuality, I fear he'll not do much good. You 
will place him at Mr. Hiu^t's desk." 

"Very good, sir," replied Mr. Brown, 
making no comment. The out-going clerk, 
Parkinson, had been at Jenner's desk. 

" I am goiag over to Westminster," con- 
tinued Mr. Bede Greatorex, gathering some 
papers in his hand. " If Gamett's people 
come ill, they must wait for me. By the way, 
what about that deed " 

The words were cut short by a clatter. A 
clatter and bustle of feet and doors ; some one 
was dashing iri jfrom the street in a desperate 
hurry, with a vast deal of imnecessary noise. 



IN THE OFFICE. 147 

First the swing-door gave a bang, then the 
clerks' door opened and banged ; now this one 
was sent back with a breeze ; and a tall fine- 
looking young man came bustling in, head 
foremost — Mr. Roland Yorke. 

Not so very young, either. For more than 
seven years have elapsed since he was of age, 
and went careering off on a certain hopeful 
voyage of his to Port Natal, told of in history. 
He is changed since then. The overgrown 
young fellow of twenty-one, angular and awk- 
ward, has become quite a noble-looking man 
in his great strength and height. The face is 
a fine one, good-nature the predominant ex- 
pression of the somewhat rough features, 
which are pale and clear and healthy : the in- 
decision that might once have been detected 
in his countenance, has given place to earnest- 
ness now. Of regular beauty in his face, as 
many people count beauty, there is none ; but 
you woTild scarcely pass him in the street 
without turning to look at him. In manner 
he is nearly as much of a boy as a grown man 
can be, just as he ever was, hasty, thoughtless, 
and impulsive. 

" I know I'm late," he began. " How d'ye 
do, Mr. Greatorex ?" 

" Yes, you are late, Mr. Yorke/' was the 
response of Mr. Bede Greatorex, submitting 

10—2 



148 ROLAND YORKE. 

to the hearty hand-shake offered. " Nine was 
the hour named.'' 

" It was the boat's fault," returned Roland, 
speaking with loud independence, just as he 
might had he been a ten thousand a-year 
client of the house. ^* I went down to see Car- 
rick off at eight o'clock, and if you'll beHeve 
me, the vessel never got away before ten. 
They were putting horses on board. Carrick 
says they'll lose their tide over yonder ; but 
he didn't complain, he's as easy as an old shoe. 
Since then I've had a pitch out of a hansom 
cab." 

'' Indeed I" 

" I told the fellow to drive like mad ; which 
he did ; and down went the horse, and I out 
a-top of him, and the man a-top of me. There 
was no damage, only it all served to hinder. 
But I'm ready for work now, Mr. Greatorex. 
Which is to be my place ?" 

To witness a new clerk announce himself in 
this loud, familiar kind of way, to see him 
grasp and shake the hand of Mr. Bede Great- 
orex : above all to hear him speak unceremo- 
niously of the Earl of Carrick, one of the 
house's noble cHents, as if the two were hail- 
fellow-well-met, caused the whole office to 
look up, even work-absorbed Mr. Brown. 
Bede Greatorex indicated the appointed desk. 



IN THE OFFICE. 149 

*^ THs is where you will be, by tbe side of 
Mr. Hurst, a gentleman who is with us for 
improvement. Mr. Brown, the manager in 
this room" — ^pointing out the clerk with the 
end of his pen — " will assign you your work. 
Mr. Hurst, Mr. Roland Yorke." 

Roland took his seat at once, and turned 
up his coat-cu6fe as a preliminary step to in- 
dustry. Mr. Bede Greatorex, saying no more, 
passed through to his private room, and after 
a minute was heard to go out. 

" What's to do ?" asked Roland. 

Mr. Brown was already giving him some- 
thing ; a deed to be copied. He spoke a few 
instructions in a concise, quiet tone, and Ro- 
land Yorke set to work. 

" What ink d'ye call this T began Ro- 
land. 

" It is the proper ink," said Mr. Brown. 

" It's uncommon bad." 

" Have you ever been used to the kind of 
work, Mr. Yorke T enquired the manager, 
wondering whether the new comer might be 
a qualified solicitor, brought to grief, or a gen- 
tleman-embryo just entering on his noviciate. 

" Oh, haven't 1 1" returned Mr. Yorke ; '' I 
was in a proctor's office once, where I was 
worked to death." 

" Then you'll soon find that to be good ink." 



150 ROLAND YORKE. 

" I had all the care of the office on my 
shoulders/' resumed Roland, holding the pen 
in the air, and sitting back on his stool while 
he addressed Mr. Brown. ** There were three 
of us in the place altogether, not counting the 
old proctor himself, and we had enough work 
for six. Well, circinnstances occurred to take 
the other two out of the office, and I, who was 
left, had to do it all. What do you think, of 

that r 

Mr. Brown did not say what he thought. 
He was writing steadily, giving no encourage- 
ment for the continuance of the conversation. 
Mr. Hurst, his elbow on the desk, had his 
face turned to the speaker, surveying him at 
leisure. 

*^ I couldn't stand it ; I should have been 
in my grave in no time ; and so I thought I'd 
try a part of the world that might be more 
desirable — Port Natal. I say, what are you 
staring at r 

This was to Mr. Hurst. The latter dropped 
his elbow as he answered. 

" I was looking whether you were much 
altered. You are : and yet I think I should 
have known you, after a bit, for Ex)land Yorke. 
When the name was mentioned I might have 
been at fault, but for your speaking of Lord 
Carrick." 



IN THE OFFICE. 161 

" He's my uncle," said Roland. " Who axe 
you r 

" Jos Hurst, from HelstonleigL Have you 
forgotten me ? I was at the college school 
with your brothers, Grerald and Tod." 

Roland stared. He had not forgotten 
Josiah Hurst ; but the rather short and very 
broad yoimg man by his side, as broad as he 
was high, bore no resemblance to the once 
slim college boy. Roland never doubted : he 
got off his stool, upsetting it in the process, 
to shake heartUy the meeting hand. Mr. 
Brown began to think the quiet of the office 
would not be much enhanced through its new 
inmate. 

" My goodness ! you are the first of the old 
fellows Fve seen. And what are you. Hurst, 
— ^a lawyer ?" 

'' Yes ; Fve passed. But the old doctor (at 
home, you know) won't buy me a practice, or 
let me set up for myself, or anything, until 
I Ve had some experience : and so I have come 
to Greatorex and Greatorex to get it," con- 
cluded Mr. Hurst, rueftJly. 

'^ And who's he V continued Roland, poiat- 
ing to Jenner. "Greatorex said nothing 
about him." 

He was one of the least men ever seen, but 
he had a vast amount of work in him. Mr. 



152 ROLAND YORKE. 

Hurst explained that Jenner was only a clerk, 
but a very efficient one. 

" He'd do twice the amount of work that I 
could, Yorke : I'm slow and sure ; Jenner is 
sure and quick. How long have you been 
home from Port Natal T 

" Don't bother about that now," said Ro- 
land. 

** Did you make your fortune out there T 

" What a senseless question ! If I'd made 
a fortune there, it stands to reason I shoiild 
not have to come into an office here." 

" How was I to know ? You might have 
made a fortune and dissipated it ?" 

" Dissipated it iq what ?" cried Eoland, 
with wide-open eyes. And to Mr. Hurst, 
who had gained some knowledge of what is 
called life, the look and the question bore 
earnest that Roland Yorke, in spite of his 
travelling experiences, was not much tainted 
by the world and its ways. 

" Oh, in many things. Horse-racing, for 
instance." 

Roland threw back his head in the old 
emphatic manner. " If ever I do get a for- 
tune, Jos, — which appears about as likely as 
that Port Natal and Ireland should join hands 
and spin a waltz with each other — I'll take 
care of it." 



IN THE OFFICE. 153 

Possibly in the notion occurring to him 
that idleness was certainly not the best way 
to acquire a fortune, Roland tUted his stool 
on its even legs, and began to work in earnest. 
When he had accomplished two lines, he took 
it to the manager. 

" Will this do, Mr. Brown ? I'm rather out 
of practice.'' 

Mr. Brown signified that it would. He 
knew his business better than to give any- 
thing of much consequence to an unknown 
and untried clerk. 

'^ Are you related to Sir Richard Yorke ?'* 
he asked of Roland. 

" Yes, I am ; and I'm ashamed of him. 
Old Dick's my uncle, my late father's brother; 
and his son and heir, young Dick, is my cou-- 
sin. Old Dick is the greatest screw alive ; 
he'd not help a fellow to save him from hang- 
ing. He's as poor as Carrick ; but I don't 
call that an excuse for him; his estate is- 
mortgaged up the neck." 

Mr. Brown needed not the additional infor-^ 
mation, which Roland proflfered so candidly- 
His nature had not changed a whit. Nay, 
perhaps the free and easy life at Port Natal, 
about which we may hear somewhat later, had 
only tended to render him less reticent, if that 
were possible. Greatorex and Greatorex were 



164 KOLAND YOKKE. 

the confidential solicitors to Sir Ricliaxd Yorke, 
and Mr. Brown was better acquainted than 
Roland with the baronet's finances. 

** I thought it must be so/' remarked Mr. 
Brown. '* I knew there was some connection 
between Sir Richard and Lord Carrick. Are 
you likely to stay in our office long ?" he ques- 
tioned, inwardly wondering that Roland with 
two uncles so puissant should be there at alL 

** I'm likely to stay for ever, for aU I know. 
They are going to give me twenty shillings a 
week. I say, Mr. Brown, why do you wear a 

• off 

wig? . 

Doubtless Mr. Brown thought the question 
a tolerably pointed one upon so brief an ac- 
quaintance. He settled to his work again 
without answering it. A hint that the clerk, 
just come under his wing, might return and 
settle to his. Which was not taken. 

" My hair is as plentiful as ever it was," 
said Eoland, giving his daxk hair a push ba^k- 
wards. " I don't want a wig ; and you can't 
be so very much my senior ; six or seven 
years, perhaps. I'm eight-and-twenty." 

^* And I am three-and-thirty, sir. My hair 
came off in a fever a few years back, and it 
does not grow again. Be so good as to get 
on with what you have to do, Mr. Yorke." 

Thus admonished, Roland obediently sought 



IN THE OFFICE. 165 

Ms place. And what with renewed questions 
to Mr. Brown — ^that came ringing out at tlie 
most unexpected moments — ^what with a few 
anecdotes of life at Port Natal with which 
he confidently regaled Mr. Hurst, what with 
making the acquaintance of little Jenner, 
which Roland accomplished with great affa- 
bility, and what with slight interludes of 
writing, a line here and a line there, the 
morning wore away agreeably. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

* ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 

Mr. Roland Yorkers emigration to Port 
Natal cannot be said to have turned out a 
success. He had gone off in higli spirits, a 
cliief cabin passenger, Lord Carrick having 
paid the passage-money, forty pounds. He 
had carried with him, jfrom the same good- 
natured source, fifty pounds, to begin life with 
when he should land, a small but sufficient 
outfit, and a case of merchandize consisting of 
fiying-pans. Seven years before, when Roland 
resolved to emigrate and run away from work 
at home, he became imbued with the convic- 
tion (whence derived, he scarcely knew, but it 
lay on his mind as a positive certainty) that 
frying-pans formed the best and most staple 
article on which to commence trading at Port 
Natal, invariably laying the foundation of a 
fortune. Some fiiend of his, a Mr. Bagshaw, 
who had previously emigrated, had imparted 
this secret to him ; at least, Roland was im- 



AURIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 157 

pressed with the belief that lie had; a belief 
which nothing could shake. Frying-pans and 
fortune were associated together in his dreams. 
He stood out strongly for the taking out forty 
dozen, but Lord Carrick declined to fiimish 
them, allowing only the miserable number of 
four-and-twenty. " When ye see for ye'reself 
out there that there's a market for them, send 
me word, and I'll dispatch loads to ye by the 
first steamer, me boy," said his lordship sen- 
sibly ; and Roland was fain to put up with 
the advice and with the two dozen accorded. 
He arrived at Port Natal, aU youth and joy and 
buoyancy. Seen from the deck of the vessel, 
when she anchored in the beautiful harbour, 
cabn as a lake. Natal looked a very paradise. 
Ranges of hills on the west of the fair town 
were dotted with charming houses and 
pleasure-grounds ; and Roland landed fresh 
and fiill of hope as a summer's morning : just 
as too many an emigrant from the dear old 
mother-country does land, at other parts be- 
sides Natal. And he bought experience as 
they do. 

In the first place, Roland began life there 
as he had been accustomed to do it in Eng- 
land ; that is, as a gentleman. In the second 
place there proved to be no especial market 
for frying-pans. That usefdl culinary article 



158 ROLAND YORKK 

might be bought in sufficient abundance, he 
found, when inquired for, without bringing 
into requisition the newly-arrived supply. 
The fiying-pans being thus lefb upon his 
hands, lying like a dead weight on them, 
metaphorically speaking, brought the first 
check to his hopes ; for they had been relied 
upon (as the world knows) to inaugurate and 
establish the great enterprizes, commercial or 
otherwise, that had floated in rose-coloin:ed 
visions through Roland's brain. He quitted 
the port town, Diurban, and went to Maritz- 
burg, fifty miles ojff, and then came back to 
Durban. Thrown upon his own resoiurces 
(through the faUiure of the firying-pans), Ro- 
land had leisure to look about him, for some 
other fertile source in which to embark his 
genius and energy, and lead him on to speedy 
fortime. Such resoiurces did not appear to 
be going begging ; they were coyly shy ; or at 
least came not flowing in Roland^s way ; and 
meanwhile his money melted. Partly in 
foolish expenditinre on his own accoimt, partly 
in helping sundry poor wights, distressed 
steerage passengers with whom he had made 
acquaintance on board (for Roland had brought 
out his good-natiu:e with him), the money came 
to a summary end. One fine morning, Roland 
woke up from a dream of idle carelessness, 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 159 

to find himself changing the last sovereign of 
all the fifty. It did not dismay him very 
much : all he said was, " I must set about 
money-making in earnest now." 

Of course the great problem was — ^how to 
do it. You, my reader, may be, even now, 
trying to solve it. Thousands of us are, 
every day. Roland Yorke made but one 
more of a very common experience ; and he 
had to encounter the usual rubs incidental to 
the process. He came to great grief and was 
reduced to a crust ; nay, to the not knowing 
where the crust could be picked up firom. 
The j&ying-pans went first, disposed of in a 
job lot, almost literally for an old song. Some 
man who owned a shed had, for a considera- 
tion, housed the case that contained them, 
and they were eating their handles off. Ro- 
land's wardrobe went next, piecemeal; and 
things fell to the pass that Roland was not 
sure but he himself would have to go after it. 
It came to one of two things — starvation or 
work. To do Roland justice, he was ready 
and willing to work ; but he knew no mecha- 
nical trade ; he had never done an hour's hard 
labour, and in that lay the difficulty of getting 
it. He would rush about from office to store, 
hunger giving him earnestness, from store to 
workshop, from workshop to bench, and say. 



160 BOLAND YOBKE. 

Employ me. For the most part, the answer 
would be that he was not wanted ; the labour 
market of all kinds was overstocked ; but if 
the application appeared, by rare chance, 
likely to be entertained, and Roland was 
questioned of his experience and capabilities, 
rejection was sure to follow. He was too 
honest, too shallow in the matter of tact, to 
say he had been accustomed to work when he 
had not ; and the experience in copying which 
he acknowledged and put forth, was somehow 
never required to be tested. To hear Roland 
tell of what he had accomplished in this line 
at home, must have astonished the natives of 
Port Natal. 

Well, time went on ; it does not stand stiU 
for any one ; and Roland went on with it, down 
and down and down. Years went on; and 
one rainy day, when about four winters had 
gone by from the date of his departure, Ro- 
land returned to England. He landed in St. 
Katharine's Docks, his coat out at elbows and 
ninepence in his pocket : as an old friend of 
his, Mr. Galloway, had once prophesied he 
would land, if he lived to get back at all. 

Mr. Roland Yorke had sailed for Port Natal 
in style, a first-class cabin passenger ; he came 
home in the steerage, paying twelve pounds 
for the passage, and working out part of that. 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 161 

From thence he made his way to Lord Car- 
rick in Ireland, very much like a bale of re- 
turned goods. 

The best accoimt he gave of his travels to 
Lord Carrick, perhaps the best account he 
could give, was that he had been " knocking 
about." Luck had not been with him, he 
said : and there really did seem to have been 
a good deal in that. To hear him tell of his 
adventures was something rich ; not consecu- 
tively as a history, he never did that : but 
these chance recollections were so frequent 
and diflRise, that a history of his career at 
Natal might have been compiled from them. 
The Earl would hold his sides, laughing at 
Roland's lamentations for the failure and sa- 
crifice of his frying-pans, and at the reminis- 
cences in general. A life of adventure one 
week, a life of starvation the next. Roland 
said he had tried all kinds of things. He 
had served in stores; at bars where liquor 
was dispensed ; he had been a hired waiter at 
half the hotels in Natal ; he had worked on 
the shore with the half-naked Zulu Kaffirs at 
lading and unlading boats ; once, for a whole 
week, when he was very hard up, or perhaps 
very low down^ he had cried hot potatoes in 
the streets. He had been a fexmer's labourer 
and driven a waggon, pigs, and cattle. He 

VOL. L 11 



162 ROLAND YOEKE. 

had been sub-editor in a newspaper office. 
The Natal Mercury, and one unlucky day- 
sent the joiunal out with its letters printed 
upside down. He had hired himself out as 
chemist's assistant, and half ruined his master 
by his hopeless inability to distinguish between 
senna and tincture of laudanum, so that the 
antidotes obliged to be supplied to the hapless 
customers who came rushing for them, quite 
outweighed the profits. Occasionally he met 
with friends who assisted him, and then Eo- 
land was at ease-for his propensity to Uve bb 
a gentleman was for ever cropping up. Up and 
down ; down and up ; now fortune smiling a 
little, but for the most part showing herself 
very grim, and frowning terribly. Roland 
had gone (as he called it) up the country, and 
amidst other agreeable incidents came to a 
fight with the Kaffirs. He took out a hcence, 
the cost thirty shillings, and opened a retail 
store for pickled pork, candles, and native 
leeches, the only articles he could get sup- 
plied him on trust. His fine personal appear- 
ance, ready address, evident scholarship, and 
hearty frank manners, obtained for him a 
clerkship in the Commercial and Agricultural 
Bank, recently opened, and he got into so 
hopeless a maze with the books and cash by 
the week's end, that he was turned ojff with- 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 163 

out pay. Architecture was tried next. Ro- 
land sent in a graphic plan as competitor for 
the erection of a public building; and the 
drawing — ^which he had copied from a model, 
just as he used to copy cribs in the college 
school at Helstonleigh — ^looked so well upon 
paper that the arbitrators were struck with 
admiration at the constructive talent dis- 
played, until one of them made the abrupt 
discovery that there were no staircases, and 
no room left to build any. So, that hope 
was abandoned for a less exalted one; and 
Roland was glad to become young man at a 
general store, where the work was light : al- 
ternating between dispensing herrings and 
treacle (called there golden syrup) to customers 
over the coimter, and taking out parcels in a 
wheelbarrow. 

But there was good in Roland. And a 
great deal of it too, in spite of his ill-luck and 
his careless improvidence. The very fact of 
his remaining away four years, striviag man- 
fully with this imsatisfactory life of toil and 
semi-starvation, proved it. The brown bread 
and pea-soup Mr. Galloway had foreseen he 
would be reduced to live on, was often 
hungered for by Roland in vain. He put up 
with it all ; and not imtil every chance seemed 
to have failed, would he go home to tax his 

11—2 



164 ROLAND YOEKE. 

uncle's pocket, and to disappoint his mother. 
A sense of shame, of keen, stinging mortifi- 
cation, no doubt lay at the bottom of this 
feeling against return. He had been so san- 
guine, as some of my readers may remember ; 
and as he, sitting one day on a roadside stone 
in the sand, towards the close of his stay in 
Natal, recalled ; so fall of hopeful, glowing 
visions in the old home, that his mother, the 
Lady Augusta Yorke, had caught their reflec- 
tion. Roland's castles in the air cannot have 
slipped yet out of people's memory. He had 
represented to his mother ; aye, and believed 
it, too ; that Port Natal was a kind of Spanish 
El Dorado, where energetic yoimg men might 
line their pockets in a short while, and come 
home millionaires for life. He had indulged 
large visions and made magnificent promises 
on the strength of them, beginning with a 
case of diamonds to his mother, and ending- 
nobody but Roland could have any conception 
where. Old debts were to be paid, friends 
benefited, enemies made to eat humble-pie. 
Mr. Galloway was to be passed in the street 
by Mr. Roland Yorke, the millionaire ; the 
Reverend William Yorke to have the cold 
shoulder turned upon him. Arthur Channing 
was to be honoured ; Jenkins, the hard-work- 
ing clerk, who had thought nothing of doing 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 165 

Roland's work as well as his own, to be 
largely patronised ; within three months after 
his arrival in Port Natal, funds were to be 
despatched home to settle claims that might 
be standing against Roland in Helstonleigh. 
That there could be the slightest doubt he 
should come back " worth millions," Roland 
never supposed ; he had talked of it every- 
where — ^and talked faithfully. Poor Jenkins 
had long gone where worldly patronage and 
gifts could not follow him, but others had not. 
Roland remembered how his confident antici- 
pations had so won upon his mother, that she 
went to bed and dreamt of driving about a 
charming city, whose streets were paved with 
Malachite marble. 

And so, recalling these visions and promises, 
Roland, for very disappointment and shame, 
was not in a hurry to go back, but rather lin- 
gered on in Port Natal, struggling manfully 
with his ill-luck, as he called it. Pride and 
good-feeling alike prevented him. To appear 
before Lady Augusta, poor, starving, hatless, 
and bootless, would be undoubtedly a worse 
blow to her than that other alternative which 
he (forgetting his height and weight) had 
laid before her view : the one, he said, might 
happen if he did not get to Port Natal — ^the 



166 ROLAND YORKE. 

riding as a jockey on Helstonleigh race-course, 
in a pink silk jacket and yellow breeches. 

No. He did try heartUy with all his might 
and main; tried at it for four mortal years. 
Beyond a scrap of writing he now and again 
sent home, in which he always said he was 
"well, and happy, and keeping straight, and 
getting on,'' but which never contairied a re- 
quest for home news, or aQ address to which 
it might be sent. Lady Augusta heard nothing. 
Nobody else heard. One letter, indeed, 
reached a bosom friend of his, Arthur Chan- 
nmg, which was burnt when read, as re- 
quested, and Arthur looked grieved for a 
month after. He had told Arthur the truth ; 
that he was not getting on; but imder an 
injunction of secresy, and giving no details. 
Beyond that, no news reached home of Roland. 

His fourth year of trial at Port Natal was 
drawing to a close when Ulness seized hold of 
him, and for the first time Boland felt as if 
he were losing heart. It was not serious ill- 
ness, only such as is apt to attack visitors to 
the country, and from which Roland's strength, 
of frame, sound constitution, and good habits 
— for he had no bad ones, unless a great appe- 
tite might be called such — ^had hitherto pre- 
served him. But, what with the wear and 
tear of his chequered life, its uncertain food. 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 167 

a plentiful dinner to-day, bread and beans to- 
morrow, nothing the following one, and its 
harassing and continuous disappointments, Ro- 
land felt the illness as a depressing calamity ; 
and he began to say he could not make head 
against the tide any longer, and must get 
away from it. He might have to eat humble- 
pie on landing in England; but humble-pie 
seems tolerable or nauseous according to the 
existing state of mind ; and it is never utterly 
poisonous to one of the elastic temperament 
of Roland Yorke. In a fit of impulse he went 
down to the ships and made the best bargain 
for getting home that circumstances allowed. 
He had been away more than four years, and 
never once, during that time, had he written 
home for money. 

And so, behold him, out at pocket (except 
for ninepence) and out at elbows, but wonder- 
fully improved in tone and physique, arriving 
in. London early one rainy morning from Port 
Natal, and landing in the docks. 

The first thing he did was to divide the 
ninepence with one who was poorer than he ; 
the second was to get a cup of coffee and a 
slice of bread at a street coffee-stall ; the third 
was to hasten to Lord Carrick's tailor — and a 
tremendous walk it was, but that was nothing 
to Roland — and get rigged out in any second- 



168 ROLAND YORKE. 

hand siiit of clothes returned on hand that 
might be decent. There ill news awaited 
him ; it was the time of year when Lord Car- 
rick might, as a rule, be foimd in London ; 
but he had not come ; he was, the tailor be- 
lieved, in Ireland. Roland at once knew, as 
sure as though it had been told him, that his 
uncle was in some kind of pecimiary hot 
water. Borrowing the very smallest amount 
of money that would take him to Ireland, he 
went ojff down the Thames in a return cattle- 
boat that very day. 

Since that period, hard upon three years, 
he had been almost equally " knocldng about/' 
and experienced nearly as many ups and downs 
in Ireland as at Port Natal. Sometimes hving 
in clover with Lord Carrick, at others thrown 
on his own resources and getting on somehow. 
Lord Carrick's will was good to help him, but 
not always his ability ; now and again it had 
happened that his lordship (who was really- 
more improvident than his nephew, and had 
to take flights to the Contiaent on abrupt 
emergencies and without a day s warning) was 
lost to society for a time, even to Roland. 
Roland hired himself out as a kind of over- 
looker to some absentee s estate, but he could 
not get paid for it. This part of his career 
need not be traced ; on the whole, he did still 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 16^ 

strive to do something for himself as stre- 
nuously as he had at Port Natal, and not to 
be a biurthen to anybody, even to Lord Car- 
rick. 

To this end he came over to London, and 
presented himself one day to his late father's 
brother. Sir Richard Yorke, and boldly asked 
him if he could not " put him into something." 
The request caused Sir Richard (an old gen- 
tleman with a fat face) to stare immensely ; 
he was very poor and very selfish, and had 
persistently held himself aloof from his late 
brother's needy femily, keeping them always 
at arm's length. His son and heir had been 
content to do the same : in truth, the cousins 
did not know each other by sight. Sir 
Richard's estate was worth four thousand a- 
year, all told ; and as he was wont to live at 
the rate of six, it will be understood that he 
was never in funds. Neither had he patron- 
age or influence in any way. To be thus sum- 
marily applied to by a stalwart young man, 
who announced himself as his nephew, took 
the baronet aback ; and if he did not exactly 
turn Roland out of the house, his behaviour 
was equivalent to it. " I'U be shot if I ever 
go near hipa again," cried Roland. " I'd rather 
cry hot pies in Poplar streets." 

A day or two previously, in saimtering 



170 ROLAND YOEKE. 

about parts of London least frequented by 
men of the higher class — ^for when we are 
very much down in the world we don't exactly 
choose the region of St. James's for our pro- 
menades, or the sunny side of Regent Street 
— ^Roland had accidentally met one of the 
steerage passengers with whom he had voyaged 
home from Port Natal. Ever open-hearted, 
he had fi-ankly avowed the reason of being 
unable to treat his friend ; namely, empty 
pockets : he was not sure, he added, but he 
must take to crossing-sweeping for a living ; 
he heard folks made fortunes at it. Upon 
this the gentleman, who wore no coat and 
very indifferent pantaloons, confided to him 
the intelligence that there was a first-rate 
opening in the perambulating hot-pie trade, 
down in Poplar, for an energetic young man 
with a sonorous voice. Poland, being great in 
the latter gift, thought he might entertain it. 
Things were at a low ebb just then with 
Poland. Lord Carrick, as usual, was totally 
destitute of ready money ; and Poland, des- 
perately anxious though he was to get along 
of his own accord, was fain to write to his 
mother for a httle temporary help. One can- 
not live upon air in London, however that 
desirable state of things may be accomplished 
at Port Natal. But the apphcation was made 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 171 

at an inopportune moment. Every individual 
boy Lady Augusta possessed was then tug- 
ging at her purse strings ; and she returned a 
sharp answer to Roland, telling him he ought 
to be ashamed of himself not to be helping 
her, now that he was the eldest, instead of 
wanting her to keep him. George, the eldest 
son, had died in India, which brought Roland 
first. 

'^ It's true," said Roland, in a reflective 
mood, ^^ I ought to be helping her. I wonder 
if Carrick could put me into anything, as old 
Dick won't. Once let me get a start, I'm 
boimd to go on, and the mother should be the 
first to benefit by it." 

A short while afber this, and when Roland 
was far more at his wits' end for a shilling 
than he had ever been at Port Natal — for 
there he had no appearance to keep up, and 
here he had; there he could encamp out in 
the sand, here he couldn't — Lord Carrick ar- 
rived suddenly in London, in a little trouble 
as usual. Some warm-hearted friend had in- 
duced his good-natured lordship to accept a 
short bill, and afterwards treacherously left 
him to meet it. So Lord Carrick was again 
en route for the Continent, until his men of 
business, Greatorex and Greatorex, could ar- 
range the affair for him by finding the neces- 



172 ROLAND YOEKE. 

sary money. Halting in London a couple of 
days, to confer with them on that and other 
matters — for Lord Carrick's affairs altogether 
were complicated and could not be touched 
upon in an hour — Roland seized on the oppor- 
t\mity to prefer the application. And this 
brin^uatothapresen/Le. 

When under a cloud, and not quite certain 
that the streets were safe, the Earl was wont 
to eschew his hotel at the west end, and put 
up at a private one in a more obscure part- 
Eoland, having had notice of his arrival, clat- 
tered in to breakfast with him on the morning 
of the second day, and entered on his petition 
forthwith— to be put into something. 

" Anything for a start. Uncle Carrick," he 
urged. " No matter how low I begin : I'll 
soon go along swimmingly, once I get the 
start. I can't go about here, you know, with 
my toes out, as I have over yonder. It's 
awful work getting a dinner only once a 
week. I've had thoughts of crying hot pies 
in Poplar." 

To judge by the breakfast Roland was eat- 
ing, he had been a week without that meal as 
well as dinner. Lord Carrick, looking at the 
appetite with admiration, sat pulling his white 
whiskers in perplexity; for the grey hair of 
seven years ago had become white now. His 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 173 

heart was good to give Roland the post of 
Prime Minister, or any other trifling office, 
but he did not see his way clear to accom- 
plish it. 

" Me boy, there's only one thing I can do 
for ye just now," he said after silently turning 
the matter about in all its bearings, and hear- 
ing the explanation of the Poplar project. 
*'Ye know I must be off to-morrow by the 
early French steamer, and I can't go about 
looking after places to-day, even if I knew 
where they coTild be picked up, which I don't. 
I must leave ve to Greatorex and Greatorex." 
" What will they do ?" asked Roland. 
" You can come along with me there, and 
see." 

Accordingly, when the Earl of Carrick went 
forth to his appointed interview that day with 
Mr. Greatorex, he presented Roland; and 
simply told the old lawyer that he must put 
him in a way of getting along, until he. Lord 
Carrick, was in funds again. Candid and open 
as ever Roland coTild be, the Earl made no 
secret whatever of that gentleman's penniless 
state, enlargiQg on the fact that to go dinner- 
less, as a rule, coTild not be good for him, and 
that he should not exactly like to see liiTn set 
up as a hot-pie man in Poplar. Mr. Greatorex, 
perhaps nearly as much taken to as Sir 



174 ROLAND yORKE. 

Eichard Yorke had been on a similar occasion^ 
glanced at his son Bede who was present, and 
hesitated. He did not refuse point blank- 
as he might have done by almost anybody- 
else. Lord Carrick was a valuable client, his 
business yearly bringing in a good shaxe of 
feathers to the Greatorex nest, and old Mr. 
Greatorex was sensible of the fact. StUl, he 
did not see what he could do for one who, like 
Roland, was in the somewhat anomalous posi- 
tion of being nephew to an earl and a baronet, 
but reduced to contemplate the embarking in 
the hot-pie trade. 

" We might give him a stool in oiu- office. 
Lord Carrick, for it happens that we are a 
clerk short : and pay him — ^pay him — twenty 
shillings a week. As a temporary thing, of 
course.'^ 

To one who had not had a dinner for days, 
twenty shillings a week seems an ample for- 
tune ; and Roland started up and grasped the 
elder lawyer's hand. 

" I'll earn it," he said, his tone and eyes 
alike beaming with gratitude. " I'll work for 
you tiU I drop." 

Mr. Greatorex smiled. ^^ The work will 
not be difficult, Mr. Yorke ; writing, and going 
on errands occasionally. If you do come," he 
pointedly added, *^ you must be ready to per- 



ARRIVAL FROM PORT NATAL. 175 

form anything you may be directed to do, just 
as a regular clerk does." 

"Ready aud willing too/' responded 
Eoland. 

" We have room for a certain number of 
clerks only," proceeded Mr. Greatorex, who 
was desirous that there should be no mis- 
understanding in the bargain ; " each one ha& 
his appelated work and must get through it. 
Can you copy, deeds r 

" CarUt I," unceremoniously replied Roland, 
" I was nearly worked to death with old Gal- 
loway, of Helstonleigh." 

" Were you ever with him ?" cried Mr. 
Greatorex in surprise, to whom Mr. Galloway 
was known. 

" Yes, for years ; and part of the time had 
all the care of the office on my shoulders," 
was Roland's ready answer. " There was only 
Galloway then, beside myself, and lie was not 
good for much. Why ! the amount of copying 
I had to do was so great, I thought I should 
have dropped into my grave. Lord Carrick 
knows it." 

Lord Carrick did, in so far as that he had 
heard Roland repeatedly assert it, and nodded 
assent. Mr. Greatorex thought the services 
of so experienced a clerk must be invaluable 
to any house, and felt charmed to have se- 
cured them. 



176 ROLAND YORKE. 

And that is how it arose that Roland 
Yorke, as you have seen, was entering the 
office of Greatorex and Greatorex. He was to 
be a clerk there to all intents and purposes ; 
just as he had been in the old days at Mr. 
Galloway's ; and yet, when he came in that 
morning, after his summerset out of the han- 
som cab, with a five-pound note in his pocket 
that Lord Carrick had contrived to spare for 
him, and an order for unlimited credit at his 
lordship's tailor's, hatter's, and bootmaker's, 
Roland's buoyant heart and fate were alike 
radiant, as if he had suddenly come into a 
fortune. 



CHAPTEK IX. 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 



*^ You can go to your dinner, Mr. Yorke.'* 

The clocks were striking one, as Brown, the 
manager, gave the semi-order. Roland, to 
whom dinner was an agreeable interlude, 
especially under the circumstances of having 
money in his pocket to pay for it, leaped off 
his stool forthwith, and caught up his hat 
" Are you not coming. Hurst ?" 
Mr. Hurst shook his head. " Little Jenner 
goes now. I stay until he comes back.'' 

Little Jenner had been making preparation 
to go of his own accord, brushing his hat, 
drawing down his waistcoat, pushing gingerly 
in order his mass of soft fair hair. He was 
remarkably small ; and these very small men 
are often very great dandies. Roland, who 
had shaken off the old pride in his rubs with 
the world, waited for him outside. 
VOL. I. VL 



178 ROLAND YOEKE. 

*^ Jenner, d'ye know of a good dining-place 
about here T he asked, as they stood together, 
looking hke a giant and a dwarf. 

The clerk hesitated whether to say he did 
or did not. The place that he considered 
good might not appear so to the nephew of 
Sir Richard Yorke. 

" I generally go to a house in Tottenham 
Court Road, sir. It's a kind of cook's shop, 
clean, and the meat excellent; but one sees 
all kinds of people there, and you may not 
think it up to you." 

*^ Law, bless you 1" cried Roland. " When 
a fellow has been knocked about for four years 
in the streets of Port Natal, he doesn't retain 
much ceremony. Let's get on to it. Do you 
know of any lodgings to be let in these parts, 
Jenner T he continued again. " I shaU get 
some as near to Greatorex's as I can. One 
does not want a three or four miles' dance 
night and morning." 

Jenner said he did not know of any, but 
would help Mr. Yorke to look for some that 
evening if he liked. And they had turned 
into Tottenham Court Road, when Jenner 
halted to speak to some one he encountered : 
a little woman, very dark, who was bustling 
by with a black and white flat basket in her 
hand. 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 179 

" How d'ye do, Mrs. Jones ? How's Mr. 
OUivera ?" 

" Now, I Ve not got the . time to stand 
bothering with you, Jenner," was the tart 
retort. ** Call in any evening you like, as 
IVe told you before ; but I'm up to my eyes 
in errands now." 

Roland Yorke, whose attention had been 
attracted to something in a shop-window, 
wheeled round on his heel at the voice, and 
stared at the speaker. Jenner had called her 
Mrs. Jones.; but Eoland fiilly believed no per- 
son in the world could own that voice, save 
one. A voice that struck on every chord of 
his memory, as connected with Helstonleigh. 

" It is Mrs. Jenldns 1" cried Roland, seizing 
the stranger's hands. ** What on earth does 
he mean by calling you Mrs. Jones V 

"Ah," she groaned, "I am Mrs. Jones, 
more's the shame and pity. Let it pass for 
now, young Mr. Yorke. I should have 
known you anywhere." 

" You don't mean to say you are living in 
London ?" returned Roland. 

" Yes, I am. In Gower Street. Come and 
see me, Mr. Yorke ; Jenner will show you the 
house. Did you make your fortune at Port 
Natal? You'd always used to be telling 
Jenkins, you know, that you should." 



180 ROLAND YORKE. 

"And I thought I should/* said Eoland, 
with emphasis ; " but I got no luck, and it 
turned out a failure. Won^t I come and see 
you I I say, Mrs. Jenkins, do you remember 
the toasted muffins that Jenkins wouldn't 
eat r 

Mrs. Jones nodded twice to the reminiscence. 
She went bustling on her way, and they on 
theirs. Roland for once was rather silent 
Mingling with the satisfaction he experienced 
in meeting any one from Helstonleigh, espe- 
cially one so associated with the old familiar 
daily life as Mrs. Jenkins had been, came the 
thoughts of the years since ; of the defeats and 
failures ; of the mortification that invariably 
lay on his heart when he had to tell of them 
and of what they had brought him. He had 
now met two of the old people in one day ; 
Hurst and Mrs. Jones ; or, as Roland stUl 
called her, Mrs. Jenkins. Cords would not 
have dragged Roland to Helstonleigh ; his 
mother, with the rest of them at home, had 
come over to Ireland to stay part of the sum- 
mer at Lord Canick's, soon after Roland's 
return from Port Natal ; but he would not 
go to see them at the old home city. With 
the exception of scraps of news learnt from 
Hurst that day, Roland knew nothing about 
Helstonleigh's later years. 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 181 

" Look here, Jenner I What brings her 
name Jones ? It used to be Jenkins/' 

*' I think I have heard that it was Jenkins 
once," replied Jenner, reflectively. ** She 
must have married Jones after Jenkins died. 
Did you know him T 

" Did I know him T echoed Koland, to 
whom the question sounded a very super- 
fluous one. " I should just think I did know 
him. Why, he was chief clerk for years to 
Galloway, that cantankerous old proctor I 
was witL Jenkins was a good fellow as ever 
lived, meek and patient, and of course Mrs. 
J. put upon him. She'd not allow him to have 
his will in the smallest way : he couldn't 
dress himself in a morning imless she chose 
to let him. Which she didn't always." 

" Not let him dress himself T 

" It's true," affirmed Roland, diving down 
into the depth of the old grievances. " Our 
office was in an awful state of work at that 
time ; and because Jenkins had a cough ehe'd 
lock up his pantaloons to keep him at home. 
It wasn't his fault; he'd have come in his 
coffin. Jones, whoever he may be, must have 
had the courage of a wolf to venture on her. 
Does he look like one ?" 

" I never saw him," said Jenner. " I think 
he's dead, too." 



182 ROLAND YORKE. 

" Couldn't stand it, I suppose ? My opinion 
is, it was her tongue took off poor Jenkins. 
He was mild as honey. Not that she's a bad 
lot at bottom, mind you, Jenner. I wonder 
what brought her to London ?" 

" I don't know anything about her aflfeirs/' 
said Jenner. "The Rev. Henry William 
Ollivera has his rooms in her house. And I 
go to see him now and then. That's aU." 

" Who is the Rev. William OUivera ?" 

" Curate of a parish hard by. His brother, 
a barrister, had chambers i^ Lincohi's Inn, 
and I was his clerk. Four years ago he went 
the Oxford circuit, and came to his death at 
Helstonleigh. It was a shocking affiiir, and 
happened in the Joneses' house. They lived 
at Helstonleigh then. Mrs. Jones's sister 
went in one morning and found him dead in 
his chair." 

" My goodness !" cried Roland. " Was it 
a fit ?" 

"Worse than that. He took away his 
own life. And I have never been able to un- 
derstand it from that hour to this, for he was 
the most unlikely man living to do such a 
thing — as people all said. The Greatorexes 
interested themselves to get me a fresh place, 
giving me some temporary work in their 
office. It ended in my remaining with them. 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 183 

They find me useful, and pay me well. It's 
four years now, sir, since it happened." 

"Just one year before I got home from 
Natal," casually remarked Roland. 

"He sends for me sometimes," continued 
Mr. Jenner, pursuing his own thoughts, which 
were running on the clergyman. " When 
any fresh idea occurs to him, he'll write off 
for me, post haste ; and when I get there he 
puts all sorts of questions to me, about the 
old times in Lincoln's Inn. You see, he has 
always held that Mr. Ollivera did not kill 
himself, and has been ever since trying to get 
evidence to prove he did not. The hope 
never seems to grow old with him, or to rest ; 
it is as fresh and near as it was the day he 
first took it up." 

Roland felt a little puzzled. "Did Mr. 
Ollivera kill himself, or didn't he ? Which do 
you mean ?" 

Jenner shook his head. " I think he did, 
imlikely though it seemed. All the circum- 
stances proved it, and nobody doubted it ex- 
cept the Rev. Mr. Ollivera. Bede Greatorex, 
who was the last person to see him alive, 
thinks there can be no doubt whatever; I 
overheard him say it was just one of William 
Ollivera's crotchets, and not the first by a 
good many that he had taken up. The cler- 



184 ROLAND YORKE. 

gyman \ised to be for ever coming into the 
office talking of it, saying should he do this 
or do the other, until Bede told him he 
couldn't have it ; that it interrupted busi- 
ness/' 

^^ What has Bede Greatorex to do with it ? 
Why should Ollivera come to him T 

" Bede Greatorex has nearly as much to do 
with it as the clergyman. He and the two 
OUiveras were cousins. Bede Greatorex was 
awfully cut up at the death : he'd be glad to 
see that there was doubt attending it; but 
he, as a sensible man, can't see it. They 
buried Mr. Ollivera like a dog." 

" What did they do that for ?" 

" The verdict was felo-de-se. Mr. Hurst 
can tell you all about it, sir ; he was at Hel- 
stonleigh at the time : he says he never saw 
such a scene in his life as the funeral. It was- 
a moonlight night, and half the town was 
there." 

" I'll get it all out of him," quoth Roland, 
who had not lost in the smallest degree his 
propensity to indulge in desultory gossip. 

" Don't ask him in the office," advised Jen- 
ner. " Brown would stop you at the first 
word. He never let's a syllable be dropped 
upon the subject. I asked him one day what 
it was to him, and he answered that it was 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 185 

not seemly to allude to the affair in the house, 
as Mr. OUivera had been a connection of it. 
My fancy is that Brown must have known 
something of it at the time, and does not like 
it mentioned on his own score," confi- 
dentially added little Jenner, who was of a 
shrewd turn. " I saw him change colour once 
over it. 

" Who is Brown ?" questioned Roland. 

" That's more than I can say," was the re- 
ply. " He's an imcommonly efficient clerk ; 
but, once out of the office, he keeps himself to 
himself, and makes Mends with none of us. 
Here we are, sir." 

The eating-house, however unsuitable it 
might have been to one holding his own as 
the nephew of an English baronet, to say no- 
thing of an Irish peer, was welcome as sun in 
harvest to himgry Roland. He ordered a 
magnificent dinner, off-hand: three plates of 
meat each, three of tart; vegetables, bread 
and beer ad libitum: paid for the whole, 
changing his five-pound note, and gave a shil- 
ling to the man who waited on them. Little 
Jenner went out with his face shining. 

" We must make the best of our way back, 
Mr. Yorke. Time's up." 

" Oh, is it, though," cried Roland. " I'm 
not going back yet. I shall take a turn round 



186 EOLAND YORKE. 

to see Mrs. Jenkins ; there are five hundred 
things I want to ask her." 

One can only be civil to a man who has 
just treated one to a good dinner, and Jenner 
did not like to tell Roland point-blank that 
he had better not go anywhere but to the 
office. 

^^ They are awfully strict about time in our 
place," cried he ; " and we are busy just now. 
I must make haste back, sir." 

^^ AU right," said easy Roland. " Say I am 
coming." 

His long legs went flying off in the direc- 
tion of Gower Street, Jenner having given 
him the necessary instructions to find it ; and 
he burst clattering in upon Mrs. Jones in her 
sitting-room without the least ceremony, very 
much as he used to do in the old days when 
she was Mrs. Jenkins. Mrs. Jones had been 
for some time now given to wish that she had 
not changed her name. Doing very well as 
the widow Jenkins, years ago, in her little 
hosier's shop in High Street, Helstonleigh, 
what was her mortification to find one day 
that the large and handsome house next door, 
with its shop-windows of plate-glass, had been 
opened as another hosier's by a Mr. Richard 
Jones. Would customers continue to come 
to her plain and unpretending mart, when 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 187 

that new one, grand, imposing, and telling of 
an unlimited stock within, was staring them 
in the face ? The widow Jenkins feared not ; 
and fretted herself to fiddle-strings. 

The fear might have had no cause of foun- 
dation : the show kept up at the adjoining 
house was perhaps founded on artificial bases, 
rather than real. Richard Jones (whom the 
city had already begun to designate as Dicky) 
turned out to be of a sociable nature; he 
made her acquaintance whether she woTild or 
no, and suddenly proposed to her to unite the 
two businesses in one, by making herself, and 
her stock, and her connection, over to him. 
Mrs. Jenkins's first impulse was to throw at 
his head the nearest parcel that came to hand. 
Familiarity with an idea, however, sometimes 
reconciles the worst adversary; as at length it 
did Mrs. Jenkins to this. To give her her due, 
she took no accoimt whatever of Mr. Jones in 
the matter ; he went for nothing, a bale of 
waste flung in to make weight, she should 
rule him just as she had ruled Jenkins ; her 
sole temptation was the flourishing shop, a 
c6t^, and the good, weU-fumished house. So 
Mrs. Jenkins exchanged her name for that of 
Jones, and removed, bag and baggage ; resign- 
ing the inferior home that had so long shel- 
tered her. It was close upon this, that one of 



18S ROLAND YORKE. 

the barristers, coining in to the summer as- 
sizes at Helstonleigh, took apartments at Mrs. 
Jones's. That was Mr. OUivera : and in the 
foUowing March, when he again came in, oc^ 
curred his tragical ending. 

Before this, long before it, Mrs. Jones had 
grown to realize to herself the truth of the 
homely proverb, All's not gold that glitters. 
Mr. Jones's connection did not prove to be of 
the most extensive kind; far from it; the 
large, imposing stock turned out to be three 
parts dummies ; and she grew to beheve — ^to 
see— that his motive in manying her was to 
uphold his newly-estabhshed business by be- 
guiling to it her old customers. The know- 
ledge did not tend to soothe her natiu*ally tart 
temper; neither did the fact that her husband 
took a vast deal of pleasure abroad, spent 
money recklessly, and left her to do all the 
work. Mr. Jones's debts came out, one after 
the other ; more than could be paid ; and one 
morning some men of the law walked quietly 
in, and put themselves in possession of the 
effects. Things had come to a crisis. Mr. 
Jones, after battling out affairs with the bank- 
ruptcy commissioner, started for America ; his 
wife went off to London. Certain money, her 
own past savings, she had been wise enough 
to have secured to her separate special use, 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 189 

and that could not be touched. With a por- 
tion of it she bought in some of the fiimiture, 
and set up as a letter of lodgings in Gower 
Street. 

But that Roland Yorke had not seen the 
parlour at Helstonleigh (which the reader had 
the satisfaction of once entering with Mr. But- 
terby), he would have gone well nigh to think 
this the same room. The red carpet on the 
floor, the smaU book-shelves, the mahogany 
ddeboarf with i.« anay of gla^, the hS 
hair chairs, the red cloth on the centre table, 
all had been transplanted. When Roland 
bustled in, he foimd Mrs. Jones knitting away 
at lambs'-wool socks, as if for her life. In the 
intervals of her home occupation, or when her 
house was slack of lodgers, she did these for 
sale, and realized a very feir profit.- 

" Now then," said Roland, stirring up the 
fire of his own accord, and making himself at 
home, as he liked to do wherever he might be, 
" I want to know aU about everybody." 

Mrs. Jones turned her chair towards him 
with a jerk ; and Roland put question after 
question about the old city, which he had so 
abruptly quitted more than seven years before. 
It may be that Mrs. Jones recognized in him 
a kind of fellow-sufierer. Neither of them 



190 BOLAND YORKE. 

cared to see Helstonleigh again, unless under 
the auspices of a more propitious fate than the 
present. Any way, she was gracious to Boland^ 
and gave him information as fast as he asked 
for it, repeating some things he had heard be- 
fore. He persisted in calhng her Mrs. Jen- 
kins, saying it came more natural than the 
other name. 

Mr. Channing waa dead. His eldest son 
Hamish was Hving in London. Arthur™ 
Mr. Galloway's right hand; Tom was a clergy- 
man, and just made a minor canon of the old 
cathedral ; Charley Mrs. Jones knew nothing 
about, except that he was in India. The col- 
lege school had got a new master. Mr. Ketch 
was reposing in a damp green nook, side by 
side Jh old Jenkins the Lesman. Hamish 
Channing's bank had come to grief, Mrs. Jen- 
kins did not know how. In the panic, she 
believed. 

"And that beautiftJ kinsman of mine, Wil- 
liam Yorke, reigns at Hazeldon, and old Gal- 
loway is flourishing in his office, with his flaxen 
curls 1'' burst forth Roland, suddenly struck 
with a weighty sense of injustice. " The bad 
people get the luck of it in this world, Mrs. 
Jenkins ; the deserving ones go begging. Ha- 
mish Channing's bank come to grief; — ^bright 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 191 

Hamish! And look at mel — ^and you! I 
never saw such a world as this, with its miser- 
able ups and down." 

"Ah/' said Mrs. Jones with a touch of her 
native tartness, " it's a good thing there's an- 
other world to come after. We may find that 
a better one." 

The prospect (probably fi:om being regarded 
as rather far-off) did not appear to afford pre- 
sent satisfexjtion to Roland. He sat pulling at 
his whiskers, moodily resenting the general 
blindness of Fortime in regard to merit, and 
then suddenly wheeled round to his own 
affairs. 

"I say, Mrs. J." — s, compromise between 
the two names and serving for both — "I 
want a lodging. Couldn't you let me come 
here ?" 

She looked up briskly. " What kind of a 
lodging ? I mean as to position and price." 

" Oh, something comfortable," said Roland. 

Perhaps for old acquaintance' sake, perhaps 
because she had some apartments vacant, Mrs. 
Jones appeared to regard the proposition with 
no disfavour; and began to talk of her house's 
accommodation. 

" The rooms on the first floor are very 
good and well furnished," she said. " When 
I was about it, Mr. Yorke, I thought I might 



192 ROLAND yORKE. 

aa weil have things nice as not, one finds the 
return ; and the drawing-room floor naturally 
gets served the best There's a piano in the 
jEront room, and the bed in the back room is 
excellent/' 

"They'd be just the thing for me," cried 
Roland, rising to walk about in pleasurable 
excitement. " What's the rent ?" 

" They are let for a poimd a .week. Mr. — " 

" That'll do ; I can pay it," said he eagerly. 
" I don't play the piano myself, but it may be 
useful if I give a party. You'll cook for me ?" 

" Of coiu^e we'll cook," said Mrs. Jones. 
"But I was about to tell you that those 
rooms are let to a clergyman. If you " 

Roland had come to an abrupt anchor at 
the edge of the table, and the look of blank 
dismay on his fiuje was such as to cut short 
Mrs. Jones's speech. " What's the matter ?" 
she asked. 

" Mrs. J., I couldn't give it; I was forget- 
ting. They are to pay me a poimd a-week at 
Greatorex's ; but I can't spend it all in lodg- 
ings, I'm afraid. There'U be other things 
wanted." 

" Other things 1" ejaculated Mrs. Jones. 
" I should think there would be other things. 
Food, and drink, and firing, and light, and 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 193 

wear and tear of clothes, and washing ; and a 
hundred extras beside/* 

Roland sat in perplexity. Ways and means 
seem to have grown dark together. 

^^ Couldn't you let me one room ? A room 
with a timi-up bedstead in it, Mrs. Jenkins, 
or something of that ? Couldn't you take the 
pound a-week, and do for me ?" 

'* I don't know but I might make some 
such arrangement, and let you have the front 
parlour," she slowly said. "We've got a 
Scripture reader in the back one." 

Roland started up impulsively to look at 
the front parlour, intending to take it, off- 
hand. As they quitted the rooni — ^which was 
built out at the back, on the staircase that 
led down to the kitchen — ^Roland saw a tall, 
fair, good-looking young woman, who stopped 
and asked some question of Mrs. Jones. 
Which that lady answered sharply. 

" I have no time to talk about trifles now, 
AUetha." 

"Who's that?" cried Roland, as they en- 
tered the parlour : a smaU room with a dark 
paper and faded red curtains. 

" It's my sister, Mr. Yorke." 

"I say, Mrs. J., this is a stunning room," 
exclaimed Roland, who was in that eager 

VOL. I. 13 



194 BOLAND YORKB. 

mood^ of his, when ^all things Jooked couleur- 
de-rose. " Can I come in to-day ?" 

"You can come to-morrow, if we agree. 
That sofa lets out into a bedstead at night. 
You must not get into my debt, though, Mr. 
Yorke," she added, in the plain, straightfor- 
ward way that was habitual with her. " I 
couldn't afford it, and I teU you so before- 
hand." 

" I'U never do that,'* said Eoland, impul- 
sively earnest in his sincerity. " ITl bring 
you home the poimd each week, and then I 
shan't be tempted to change it. Look here " 
—taking two sovereigns from his pocket— 
"that's to steer on ahead with. Does she 
live here?" he added, going back without 
ceremony to the subject of Miss Rye. 
" Alletha, do you call her ? What an odd 
name !" 

" The name was a mistake of the parson's 
when she was christened. It was to have 
been Allethea. I've had her with me fotu* or 
five years now. She is a dressmaker, Mr. 
Yorke, and works sometimes at home, and 
sometimes out." 

" She'd be uncommonly good-lookiag if she 
were not such a shadow," commented Roland 
with candotu-. 

Mrs. Jones gave her head a toss, as if the 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 195 

topic displeased her. "Shadow, indeed! 
Yes, and she's Hkely to be one. Never was 
any pig more obstinate than she." 

" Pigs 1" cried Roland with energy, " you 
should see the obstinacy of Natal pigs, Mrs. 
J. I have. Drove 'em too." 

" It couldn't equal hers," disputed Mrs. J., 
with intense acrimony. " She is wedded to 
the memory of a runaway villain, Mr. Yorke, 
that's what she is ! A good opportimity pre- 
sented itself to her lately of settling, but she'd 
not take it. She'd sooner fret out her life after 
himy than look upon an honest man. Tie two 
pigs together by the tail, and let 'em pull two 
ways till they drop, they'd not equal hen 
And for a runaway ; a man that disgraced 
himself!" 

" What did he do ?" aaked curious Roland. 

" It's not very good to repeat," said Mrs. 
Jones tartly. '^ She Hved in Birmingham, 
our native place, till the mother died, and 
then she came to me at Helstonleigh. First 
thing she teUs me was, that she was engaged 
to be married to some yoimg man in an 
office there, George Winter : and over she 
goes to Birmingham the next Christmas on a 
visit to her aimt, on purpose to meet him : 
stays there a week, and comes home again. 
Well, Mr. Yorke, this grand yoimg man, this 



196 BOLAND YORKE. 

George Winter, about whom I had my doubts, 
though I'd never seen him, got into trouble 
before three more months had gone by: he 
and a fellow-clerk did something wrong with 
the money, and Winter decamped." 

" I wonder if he went to Port Natal V* 
mused Roland. " We had some queer people 
over there." 

''It don't much matter where he went/' 
returned Mrs. Jones, hotly. " He did go, and 
he never came back, and he took AUetha's 
common sense away with him: what with 
him and what with the dreadful ate at our 
house of that poor Mr. Ollivera, she has never 
been herself since. It both happened about 
the same time." 

Roland recalled what he had recently heard 
from Jenner regarding the death of the barris- 
ter, and felt a Httle at sea. "What was 
Ollivera to her ?" he asked. 

"What! why, nothing," said Mrs. Jones. 
" And she's no better than a lunatic to have 
taken it as she did. Whether it's that, or 
whether it's the pining after the other pre- 
cious runaway, / don't know, but one of the 
two's preying upon her. There's Mr. Olli- 
vera !" 

Roland went to the window. In the street, 
talking, stood a dark, small man in the gaxb 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 197 

of a clergyman, with a grave but not unplea- 
sant face, and sad dark eyes. 

"Oh, that's Mr. OUivera, is it?" quoth 
Eioland. "He looks another shadow." 

" And it is another case of obstinacy," re- 
joined Mrs. Jones. " He has refused all along 
to believe that his brother killed himself; you 
could as soon make him think the sun never 
shone. He comes to my parlour and talks to 
me about it by the hour together, with his 
note-case in his hand, till Alletha can't sit any 
longer, and goes rushing off with her work like 
any mad woman." 

" Why should she rush off ? What harm 
does it do to her ?" 

" I don't know : it's one of the puzzles to 
be found out. His coming here was a curious 
thing, Mr. Yorke. One day I was standing at 
the front door, and saw a young clergyman 
passing. He looked at me, and stopped ; and 
I knew him for Henry OUivera, though we had 
only met at the time of the death. When I 
told him I had rooms to let, and very nice 
ones, for it struck me that perhaps he might 
be able to recommend them, he looked out in 
that thoughtful, dreamy way he has, (look at 
his eyes now, Mr. Yorke !) seeing nothing, I'm 
certain ; and then said he'd go up and look at 
the rooms ; and we went up. Would you be- 



wm 



198 ROLAND YORKE, 

lieve that lie took them for himself on the 

spot r 

" What a brick 1" cried Roland, who was 
following out suggested ideas but imperfectly. 
" I'll take this one." 

" Alletha gave a great cry when she heard 
he was coming, and said it was Fate. I de- 
manded what she meant by that, but she'd 
not open her lips fiurther. Talk of Natal pigs, 
forsooth, she's worse. He took possession of 
the rooms within the week ; and I say, Mr. 
Yorke, that. Fate or not Fate, he never had 
but one object in coming — ^the sifting of that 
past calamity. His poor mistaken mind is 
ever on the rack to bring some discovery to 
light. It's like that search one reads of, after 
the philosopher's stone." 

Roland laughed. He was not very profoimd 
himself, but the philosopher's stone and Mrs. 
Jones seemed utterly at variance. 

" It does," she said. " For there's no stone 
to be found in the one case, and no discovery 
to be made in the other, beyond what has 
been made. I don't say this to the parson, 
Mr. Yorke ; I listen to him and humour him 
for the sake of his dead brother." 

*' Well, I shan't bother you about dead 
people, Mrs. J., so you let me the room." 

The bargain was not difficult. Every sug- 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 199 

gestion made by Mrs. Jones, he acceded to 
before it had well left her lips. He had fallen 
into good hands. Whatever might be Mrs. 
Jones's faults of manner and temper, she was 
strictly just, regarding Eoland's interests at 
least in an equal degree with her own. 

" Do you know," said Roland, nursing his 
knee as the bargain concluded, " I have never 
felt so much at home since I left it, as I did 
just now by your fire, Mrs. J. ? I'm uncommon 
glad I came here." 

He waa genuine in what he said : indeed 
Roland could but be genuine always, too 
much so sometimes. Mrs. J. — ^as he called 
her — ^brought back so vividly the old home 
life of his boyhood, now gone by for ever, that 
it was like being at Helstonleigh again. 

" My eldest brother, George, is dead," rjaid 
Roland. " Gerald is grand with his chambers 
and his club, and is married besides, but I've 
not seen him. Tod is in the army : do you 
remember him? an awfiil yoimg scamp he 
was, his face all manner of colours from fight- 
ing, and his clothes torn to that degree that 
Lady Augusta used to threaten to send him 
to school without any. Where's your husband, 
number two, Mrs. J. ?" 

" It is to be hoped he is where he will never 
come away from ; he went sailing off three 



200 BOLAND YOBKE. 

years ago from Liverpool/' she answered 
sharply ; for, of all sore subjects, this of her 
second marriage was the worst. " Any way, 
I have mademyself and my goods secure from 
him." 

'' Perhaps he's at Port Natal, driving pigs. 
He'll find out what they are if he is." 

Mr. OUivera was turning to the house. 
Boland opened the parlour door when he had 
passed it ; to look after him. 

Some one else was there. Peering out from 
a dark nook in the passage, her lips slightly 
apart, her eyes strained after the clergyman 
with a strange kind of fear in their depths, 
stood AUetha Rye. Mr. OUivera suddenly 
timaed back, as though he had forgotten 
something, and she shrank out of sight. 
Mrs. Jones introduced Roland. " Mr. Roland 
Yorke." 

Mr. Ollivera's face was thin ; his dark brown 
eyes shone with a flashing, restless, feverish 
light. Be you very sure when that peculiar 
Ught is seen, it betokens a mind ill at rest. 
The eyes fixed themselves on Roland : and 
perhaps there was something in the taU, fine 
form, in the good-nature of the strong-featured 
countenance, that recalled a memory to Mr. 
OUivera. 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 201 

" Any relative of the Yorkes of Helston- 
leigh r 

" I should think so," said Roland, " I am a 
Yorke of Helstonleigh. But IVe not been 
there since I went to Port Natal, seven years 
and more ago. Do you know them, Mr. OUi- 
vera ?" 

" I know a little of the minor-canon, Wil- 
liam Yorke, and '' 

" Oh ! he !" cinrtly interrupted Roland, with 
a vast amoimt of scorn. " He is a beauty to 
know, he is." 

The remark, so like a flash of boyish resent- 
ment, excited a slight smile in Mr. OUivera. 

" Bill Yorke showed himself a cur once in 
his life, and it's not me that's going to forget 
it. He'd have cared for my telling him of it, 
too, had I come back worth a few millions 
from Port Natal, and gone about Helstonleigh 
in my carriage and four." 

Mr. OUivera said some coiuiieous words 
about hoping to make Roland's better ac- 
quaintance, and departed. Roland suddenly 
remembered the claims of his office, and tore 
away at fiill speed. 

Never slackening it until he reached the 
house of Greatorex and Greatorex ; and there 
he very nearly knocked down a little girl 



202 BOLAND YOBKE. 

who had just come out of the private en- 
trance. Roland turned to apologise ; but 
the words died on his lips, and he stood like 
one suddenly struck dumb, staring in silence. 

In the pretty yoimg lady, one of two who 
were talking together in the passage, sAd 
looked round at the commotion, Koland 
thought he recognised an old friend, now the 
wife of his cousin William Yorke. He 
bounded in, and seized her hands. 

" You are Constance Channing ?" 

" No," replied the young lady, with won- 
dering eyes, " I am Annabel" 

Mr. Roland Yorke's first movement was to 
take the sweet face between his hands, and 
kiss it tenderly. Struggling, blushiag, almost 
weeping, the young lady drew back against 
the wall. 

" How dare you V she demanded in bitter 
resentment. "Are you out of your mind, 

sir r 

" Good gracious, Annabel, don't you know 
me ? I am your old playfellow, Roland 
Yorke." 

" Does ^that give you any right to insult 
me? I might have known it was no one 
else," she added in the moment's anger. 

" Why, Annabel, it was only done in my 
great joy. I had used to kiss you, you re- 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 203 

member : you were but a little mite then, and 
I was a great big tease. Oh, I am so glad to 
see you ! I'd rather have met you than all the 
world. You can't be angry with me. Shake 
hands and be friends." 

To remain long at variance with Eoland 
was one of the impossibilities of social life. 
He possessed himself of Annabel Chaaning's 
hand and nearly shook it off. What with his 
hearty words, and what (may it be confessed, 
even of Annabel) with the flattexy of his 
pmises and genuine adnumtion, Annabel's 
smiles broke forth amidst her blushes. Ro- 
land's eyes looked as if they would devour her. 

" I say, I never saw anybody so pretty in 
all my life. It is the nicest face ; just like 
what Constance's used to be. I thought it 
was Constance, you know. Was she not 
daft, though, to go and take up again with 
that miserable William Yorke ?" 

Standing by, haviag looked on with a smile 
of grand pity mingled with amusement, was a 
lady in most fashionable attire, the amount of 
hair on her head something marvellous to 
look at. 

" I should have known Roland Yorke any- 
where," she said, holding out her hand. 

"Why, if I don't believe it's one of the 
Joliffes 1" 



204 ROLAND YOBKE. 

"Hush, Roland," said Annabel, hastening' 
to stop his freedom, and the tone proved that 
she had nearly forgiven him on her own score. 
"This is Mrs. Bede Greatorex." 

" Formerly Louisa Joliffe," put in that lady* 
" Now do you know me ?" 

" Well, I never met with such a strange 
thing," cried Roland. " That makes three — 
four — of the old Helstonleigh people I have 
met to-day. Hurst, Mrs. J., and now you 
two. I think there must be magic in it." 

" You must come and see me soon, Roland," 
said Mrs. Greatorex as she went out. Miss 
Channing waited for the httle girl, Jane 
Greatorex, who had run in her wilful manner 
into her uncle Bede's office. Roland offered 
to fetch her. 

" Thank you," said Miss Channing. " Do 
you know which is the office ?" 

" Know ! law bless you !" cried Roland. 
" What do you suppose I am, Annabel ? 
Clerk to Greatorex and Greatorex." 

Her cheeks flushed with surprise. " Clerk 
to Greatorex and Greatorex ! I thought you 
went to Port Natal to make your fortune." 

" But I did not make it. It has been no- 
thing but knocking about; then and since. 
Carrick is a trump, as he always was, but he 
gets floored himself sometimes ; and that's his 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 205 

<jase now. If they had not given me a stool 
here (which he got for me) I'm not sure but I 
should have gone into the hot-pie line." 

'' The— what V 

" The hot-pie line ; crying them in the 
streets, you know, with a basket and a white 
cloth, and a paper cap on. There's a fine 
opening for it down in Poplar." 

Miss Channing burst out laughing. 

" It would be nothing to a fellow who has 
been over yonder," avowed Roland, jerking 
his head in the direction Port Natal might be 
supposed to lie. And then leaping to a widely 
different subject in his volatile lightness, he 
said something that brought the tears to her 
eyes, the drooping tremor to her lips. 

" It was so good in the old days ; all of us 
children together ; we were no better. And 
Mr. Channiag is gone, I hear ! Oh, I am so 
«orry, Annabel !" 

" Two years last February," she said in a 
hushed tone. "We have just put off our 
moumiug for him. Mamma is in the dear old 
house, and Arthur and Tom live with her. 
WUl you please look for the little girl, Mr. 
Yorke r 

" Now I vow 1" — ^burst forth Boland in a 
heat. " ril not stand that, you know. One ^ 
would think you had put on stilts. If ever 



206 BOLAND YOBKE. 

you call me ^ Mr. Yorke ' again, I'll go back 
to Port Natal" 

She laughed a httle pleasant laugh of em- 
barrassment. " But, please, I want my pupiL 
I cannot go myself into the offices to look for 
her." 

At that moment Jane Greatorex came 
dancing up, and was secured. Boland stood 
at the door to watch them away, exchanged a 
few Ught words with a clerk then entering, 
and finally bustled into the office. 

" Am I late ?" began Roland, with charac- 
teristic indifference " I'm vexy sorry. Mr. 
Brown. I was looking at some lodgings ; and 
I met an old friend or two. It all served to 
hinder me, but I'U soon make up for it." 

"You have been away two hours and a 
half, Mr. Yorke." 

" It's more, I think," said Roland. " I as- 
sure you I did my best to get back. You'U 
soon find what I can get through, Mr. Brown." 

Mr. Brown made no reply whatever. Jen- 
ner was absent, but Hurst was at his post, 
writing, and the faint hum of voices in the 
adjoining room, told that some client was 
holding conference with Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

Roland resiuned his copying where he had 
left off, and wrote for a quarter of an hour 
without speaking. Diligence unheard of! 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 207 

At the end of tliat time he looked off for a 
little relaxation. 

" Hurst, where do you think I am going ta 
lodge r 

"How should I know?" responded Mr. 
Hurst. And Roland told him where in an 
under-tone. 

" Jenner and I were going along Totten- 
ham Court Road, and met her/' he resumed 
presently, after a short interlude of writing. 
" She looks twenty years older." 

"That^s through her tongue," suggested 
Mr. Hurst. 

" In the old days down there, Td as soon 
have gone to live in a Tartar's house as in 
hers. But weren't her teas and toasted 
muffins good ! Here, in this desert of a place 
— and it's worse of a desert to me than Port 
Natal — to get into her house will seem like 
getting into home again." 

Mr. Brown, looking off his work to refer to 
a paper by his side, took the opportunity to 
direct a glance at the opposite desk. Whether 
Roland took it to himself or not, he apphed 
sedulously for a couple of minutes to his 
writing. 

" I say, Hiu:st, what a row there is about 
that dead Mr. Ollivera I" 

" Where's the tow ?" 



208 BOLAND YOBKE. 

"Well, it seems to crop up everywhere. 
Jenner talked of it ; she talked of it ; I hear 
that other Mr. Ollivera talks of it. You were 
in the thick of it, they say." 

Hurst nodded. " My father was the sur- 
geon fetched to him when he was foimd dead, 
and had to give evidence at the inquest. I 
went to see him buried ; it was a scene. They 
stole a march on us, though." 

" Who did r 

" They let us all disperse, and then went 
and read the burial service over the grave ; 
Ollivera the clergyman, and three or four 
more. Arthur Channing was one." 

*' Arthur Chanmng 1" 

Had any close observer been in the office, 
he might perchance have noticed that whUe 
Mr. Brown's eyes still sought his work, his 
pen had ceased to play. His Hps were shghtly 
parted; his ears were cocked; the tale evi- 
dently bore for him as great an interest as it 
did for the speakers — an interest he did not 
choose should be seen. Had they been speak- 
ing aloud, he would have checked the conver- 
sation at once with an intimation that it could 
not concern anybody : as they spoke covertly, 
he hstened at leisure. Mr. Hurst resinned. 

" Yes, Arthur Chanmng. The rumour ran 
that William Yorke had promised to be pre- 



UNEXPECTED MEETINGS. 209 

sent, but declined at the last moment, and 
Artliur Channing voluntarily took his place, 
out of sympathy for the feelings of the dead 
man's brother." 

" Bravo, old Arthur 1 he's the trump he al- 
ways was. That's the Beverend Bill all over." 

" The Beverend Bill let them have his sur- 
plice. And there they stood, and read the 
burial service over the poor fellow by stealth, 
just as the old Scotch covenanters held their 
secret services in caves. Altogether a vast 
deal of romance encircled the affair, and some 
mystery. One Godfrey Pitman's name was 
mixed up in it." 

" Who was Godfrey Pitman ?" 

Hurst dipped his pen slowly into the ink. 
" Nobody ever knew. He was lodging in the 
house, and went away mysteriously the same 
evening. Helstonleigh got to say in joke that 
there must have been two Godfrey Pitmans. 
The people of the house swore through thick 
and thin that the real Godfrey Pitman left at 
half-past four o'clock and went away by rail 
at five; others saw him quit the house at 
dark, and depart by the eight o'clock train. 
It got to a regular dispute." 

" But had Godfrey Pitman anything to do 
with Mr. OUivera ?" 

" Not he." 

VOL. I. \^ 



210 BOLAND YORKE. 

" Then where was the good of bringing him 
up ?" cried Roland. 

** I am only telling you of the different in- 
terests that were brought to bear upon it. It 
was an affair, that death was 1" 

The entrance of Mr. Frank Greatorex broke 
up the colloquy, recalling the clerks to their 
legitimate work. But the attention of one 
of them had become so absorbed that it was 
with difficulty he could get himself back again 
to passing life. 

And that one was Mr. Brown. 



CHAPTEE X. 



GOING' INTO SOCIETY. 



The year was growing a little later; tte 
evenings were lengthening, and the light of 
the setting sun, illmnining the west with a 
golden radiance, threw some of its cheering 
brightness even on the streets and houses of 
close, smoky London. 

It shone on the person of the Reverend 
Henry William OUivera, as he sat at home, 
taking his fingal meal, a tea-dinner. The 
room was a good one, and well furnished in a 
plain way. The table had been drawn to- 
wards one of the windows, open to the hum 
of the street ; the rose-wood cabinet at the 
back was handsome with its sheet of plate- 
glass and its white marble top ; the chairs and 
sofa were covered with substantial cloth, the 
pier-glass over the mantlepiece reflected back 
bright ornaments. Mr. OUivera was of very- 
simple habits, partly because he really cared 
little how he lived, partly because the scenes 

14—^ 



212 ROLAND YORKE. 

of distress and privation he met with daily in 
his ministrations read him a lesson that he 
was not slow to take. How could he pamper 
himself up with rich food, when so many 
within a stone's throw were pining for want 
of bread ? His landlady, Mrs. Jones, gave 
him soimd lectures on occasion, telling h\m 
to his face that he was trying to break down. 
Sometimes she prepared nice dinners in spite 
of him : a fowl, or some other luxury, and 
Mr. Ollivera smiled and did not say it was 
not enjoyed. The district of his curacy was 
full of poor ; poverty, vice, misery reigned, 
and would reign, in spite of what he could do. 
Some of the worst phases of London life were 
ever before him. The great problem, " What 
shall be done with these V arose to his mind 
day by day. He had his scripture readers ; 
he had other help ; but destitution both of 
body and nund reared itself aloft like a many- 
headed monster, defying all solution. Some- 
times Mr. OUivera did not come in to dinner 
at all, but took a mutton-chop with his tea ; 
as he was doing now. 

Four years had elapsed since his brother's 
mysterious death (surely it may be called so !) 
and the conviction on the clergyman's mind, 
that the verdict was wholly at variance with 
the facts, had not abated one iota. Nay, time 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 213 

had but served to strengthen it. Nothing 
else had strengthened it. No discovery 
had been made, no circumstance, however 
minute, had arisen to throw light upon it one 
way or the other. The hoped-for, looked-for 
communication from the poUce-agent, Butter- 
by, had never come. In point of fact, Mr. 
Butterby, in regard to this case, had foimd 
himself wholly at sea. Godfrey Pitman did 
not turn up in response to the threatened 
" looking after ;" Miss Rye departed for Lon- 
don with her sister when affairs at the Jones's 
came to a crash ; and, if truth must be told, 
Mr. Butterby veered round to his original 
opinion, that the verdict had been a correct 
one. Once, and once only, that renowned 
officer had presented himself at the house of 
Greatorex and Greatorex. Happening to be 
in London, he thought he would give them a 
call. But he brought no news. It was but 
a few weeks following the occurrence, and 
there might not have been time for any to 
arise. One thing he had requested — to retain 
in his possession the scrap of writing found 
on the table at the death. It might be useful 
to him, he said, for of course he should still 
keep his eyes open : and Mr. Greatorex readily 
acquiesced. Since then nothing whatever had 
been heard from Mr. Butterby, or from any 



214 ROLAND YORKE. 

other quarter ; but the sad facts were rarely 
out of the clergyman's mind ; and the positive 
conviction, the expectation of the Hght, to 
break in sooner or later, burnt within him 
with a steady ray, sure and true as Heaven. 

Not of this, however, was Mr. OUivera's 
mind filled this evening. His thoughts were 
running on the disheartening scenes of the 
day; the difficult men and women he had 
tried to deal with — some of them meek and 
resigned, many hard and bad ; all wanting 
help for their sick bodies or worse souls. 
There was one case in particular that inte- 
rested him sadly. A man named Gisby, dis- 
covered shortly before, lay in a room, dying' 
slowly He did not want help in kind, as so 
many did ; but of spiritual help, none could 
be in greater need. Little by little, Mr. 
OUivera got at his history. It appeared that 
the man had once been servant in the house 
of Kene, the Queen's coiuisel — ^Judge Kene 
now : he had been raised to the bench in the 
past year. Dining his service there, a silver 
mug disappeared ; circumstances seemed to 
point to Gisby bb guilty, and he was discharged, 
getting subsequently other employment. 

But now, the man was not guilty — ^as he 
convinced Mr. OUivera, and the suspicion ap- 
peared to have worked him a great deal of ill. 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 215 

and made him hard. On this day, when the 
clergyman sat by his bed-side, reading and 
prayiiig, he had turned a deaf ear. " Where's 
the use T he roughly cried, " Sir Thomas 
thinks me guilty always." It struck Mr. 
Ollivera that the man had greatly respected 
his master, had valued his good opinion, and 
craved for it stiU ; and the next morning this 
was confirmed. " You'll go to him when I'm 
dead, sir, and tell him the truth then, that I 
was not guilty ? I never touched the mug, 
or knew how or where it went." 
_ Returning home with these words ringing 
in his ears, Mr. Ollivera could not get the man 
out of his mind. So long as the sense ofheing 
wronged lay upon Gisby, so long would he en- 
case himself in his hard indifference, and re- 
fuse to hear. '* I must get Kene to go to see the 
man," decided Mr. OUivera. " He must hear 
with his own ears, and see with his own eyes 
that he was not guilty, and tell him so ; and 
then Gisby will come round. I wonder if 
Kene is back from circuit." 

Excessively tired with his day's work, for 
his frame was not of the strongest, Mr. OUi- 
vera did not care to go out that evening to 
Sir Thomas Kene's distant residence on the 
chance of not finding him. And yet, if the 
judge was back, there ought to be no time 



216 ROLAND YORKE. 

lost in communicating with him, for Gisby 
was daily getting nearer to death. " Bede 
Greatorex will be able to tell me/' suddenly 
thought Mr, OUivera, when his tea had been 
long over and twilight was setting in. " I'll 
send and ask him." 

Moving to his writing-table, he wrote a 
short note, reading it over before enclosing 
it in an envelope. 

" Dear Bede, 

"Can you tell me whether Sir 
Thomas Kene is in London ? I wish particu- 
larly to see him as soon as possible. It is on 
a httle matter connected with my parish work. 

" Truly yours, 
" William Ollivera." 

It was a latent thought that induced Mr. 
OUivera to add the concluding sentence ; and 
the motive shall be told. He and Bede 
Greatorex had come to an issue twice upon 
the subject of his so persistently cherishing the 
notion that the now long-past death was any- 
thing but a suicide ; or rather, that he should 
pursue it. Bede heard so much of it from him 
that he grew vexed, and at length vowed he 
would listen to him no more. And Mr. OUi- 
vera thought that if Bede fancied he wanted 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 217 

to see Sir Thomas Kene on that subject, he 
might refuse to answer him. 

Hinging the bell, he gave the note to the 
servant, with a request (preferred with depre- 
cation and a plea of his own tired state, for 
he was one of those who are sensitively chary 
of giving any extra trouble) that it should be 
taken to Mr. Bede Greatorex, and an answer 
waited for. 

But when the girl got down stairs, there 
arose some slight difficulty ; she was engaged 
in a necessary household occupation — ^ironing 
— and her mistress did not care that she should 
quit it. Miss Rye stood by with her things 
on, about to go out on some errand of her own. 
Ah me ! these apparently trifling chances do 
not happen accidentally. 

" Can t you just step roimd to Bedford 
Square, with it, Alletha ?" asked Mrs. Jones. 
" It won't take you far out of your way.'' 

Miss Rye's silent answer — she seemed al- 
ways silent now — ^was to pick up the note 
and go out with it. She knew the house, for 
she worked occasionally for Mrs. Bede Greato- 
rex, and was passing to the private entrance 
when she encountered Frank Greatorex, who 
was coming out at the other door. He wished 
her good evening, and she told hun her errand, 
showing the note directed to Bede. 



21 a BOLAND YORKE. 

"He is in liis ofl&ce still," said Frank, 
throwing open the door for her. " Walk in. 
Mr. Brown, attend here, please." 

Miss Rye stepped into the semi-lighted 
room, for there was only a shaded lamp on 
Mr. Brown's desk ; and Frank Greatorex, 
closing the door, was gone again. Mr. Brown, 
at work as late as his master, came forward. 

" For Mr. Bede Greatorex," said Miss Rye, 
handing him the note. " I wiU wait " 

The words were broken off with a faint, 
sharp cry. A cry, low though it was, of sur- 
prise, of terror, of dismay. Both their faces 
blanched to whiteness, they stood gazing at 
each other, she with strained eyes and drawn- 
back lips, he with a kind of forced stillness on 
his features, that nevertheless told of inward 
emotion. 

" Oh, my good heaven !" she breathed in 
her agitation. " Is it you T 

Miss Rye had heard speak of Mr. Brown, 
the managing clerk in the department of Mr. 
Bede Greatorex. Jenner had mentioned him : 
Roland Yorke had commented on him and his 
wig. But that " Mr. Brown " should be the 
man now standing before her, she had never 
suspected ; no, not in her wildest dreams. 

" Sit down. Miss Rye. You are faint." 

She put his arm from her, as he would have 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 219 

supported her to a seat, and staggered to one 
of herself He followed, and stood by her in 
silence. 

" What are you called here T she began 
— ^and, it may be, that in the moment's agi- 
tation she forgot his ostensible name and 
really put it as a question, not in mocking, 
condemnatory scorn : — " Godjfrey Pitman T 

Every instinct of terror the man possessed 
seemed to rise up within him at sound of the 
name. He glanced round the room ; at the 
desks ; at the walls ; as if to assure himself 
that no ear was there. 

*^ Hush — sh — sh !'' with a prolonged note 
of caution. " Never breathe that name, here 
or elsewhere." 

" What if I were to ? To speak it aloud 
to all who ought to hear it T 

"Why then you would bring a hornet's 
nest about heads that you little wot of Their 
sting might end in worse than death." 

" Death for you T 

" No : I should be the hangman." 

" What do you mean ?" 

" Listen, Miss Rye. I cannot tell you what 
I mean : and your better plan will be never to 
ask me. If " 

" Better for whom T she interrupted. 

** For — well, for me, for one. The fact is. 



220 BOLAND YORKE. 

that certain interests pertaining to myself and 
others — certain reminiscences of the past,^* he 
continued with very strong emphasis, " have 
become so complicated, so interwoven as it 
were one with the other, that we must in all 
probability stand or fall together/' 

" I do not imderstand you.'' 

" I can scarcely expect that you should. 
But — ^were any proceeding on yoiu: part, any 
word, whether spoken by design or accident, 
to lead to that fall, you would rue it to the 
last hour of your life. That you can at least 
understand." 

The Mntness was passing off, and Miss Rye 
rose, steadying herself against the railings of 
Mr. HiuBt's desk. At that moment the inner 
door was unlatched, and the clerk, recalled to 
present duties, caught the note from her un- 
resisting hand. 

" For Mr. Bede Greatorex," he said aloud, 
glancing at the superscription. "I will give 
it to him." 

It was Mr. Bede Greatorex who came forth. 
He took the note, and glanced at Alletha. 

^^Ah, Miss Eye! Is it you T 

" Our maid was busy, so I brought it down," 
she explained. '^ Mr. Ollivera is waiting for 
an answer.'' 

Bede Greatorex went back to his room. 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 221 

leaving the intervening door open. She sat 
and waited. Mr. Brown, whose work was in 
a hurry, wrote on steadily at his desk by the 
light of a shaded lamp. A minute or two, 
and Bede Greatorex brought her a bit of 
paper twisted up, and showed her out himself. 

With the errand she had come abroad to 
execute for herself gone clean out of her head, 
AUetha Rye went back home, her brain in a 
whirl The streets she passed through were 
crowded with all the bustle and jostle of Lon- 
don life : but, had she been traversing: an 
AMcan desert; she could not have feltlore 
entirely alone. Her life that night lay within 
her : and it was one of confiised timiult. 

The note found Mr. OUivera asleep : as the 
twilight deepened, he had dropped, in sheer 
weariness, into an unconscious slimiber. Un- 
twisting the scrap of paper, he held it near a 
lighted candle and read the contents : — 

" Dear Henry, 

" Kene is back, and is coming to 
us this evening; we expect two or three 
friends. Louisa will be pleased if you can 
join us. Faithfully yours, 

" B. G." 

The Rev. Mr. OUivera eschewed gaiety of 



222 BOLAl^D YOKKE. 

all kinds, paxties included. Over and over 
again had he been fruitlessly invited to the 
grand dinners and soirees of Mrs. Bede Great- 
orex, until they left off asking him, " Two 
or three friends," he repeated as he put down 
the note. " I don't mind that, for I must see 
Kene." 

Dressing himself, he was on the point of 
setting out, when a messenger arrived to fetch 
him to a sick person ; so that it was half-paat 
ten when he reached the house of Mr. Great- 
orex. And then, but for his mission to the 
Judge, he would have quitted it again with- 
out entering the reception-rooms. 

Two or three friends ! Lining the wide stair- 
case, dotting the handsome landing, crowding 
the numerous guest-rooms, there they were ; 
a mob of them. Women ia the costly and 
fantastic toilettes of the present day; men 
bowing and bending with their evening man- 
ners on. Mr. OUivera resented the crowd as 
a personal wrong. 

" ' Two or three friends,' you wrote me 
word, Bede," he reproachfully said, seeing his 
cousin in a comer near the entrance-door. 
" You know I do not like these things and 
never go to them.'' 

" On my word, Henry, I did not know it 
was going to be this cram," retimied Bede 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 223 

Greatorex. *^ I thought we might be twenty, 
perhaps, all told.'' 

" How can you put up with this ? Is it 
seemly, Bede — in this once staid and pattern 
house ?" 

" Seemly ?" repeated Bede Greatorex. 

*' Forgive me, Bede. I was thinking of 
the dear old times under your mother's rule. 
The happy evenings, all hospitality and cheer- 
fulness ; the chapter read at bed-time, when 
the small knot of guests had departed. 
Friends were entertained then; but I don't 
know what you call these." 

Perhaps Bede Greatorex had never, amid 
all his provocations, felt so tempted to avow 
the truth as now — ^that he abhorred it with 
his whole heart and soul. Henry William 
OUivera could not hate and despise it more 
than he. As to the good old days of sun- 
shine and peace thus recalled, a groan well 
nigh burst from him at their recollection. It 
was indeed a contrast, then and now : in more 
things than this. The world bore a new 
aspect for Bede Greatorex, and not a happier 
one. 

" Is Kene here, Bede ?" 

" Not yet. What is it that you want with 
him?" 

Mr. OUivera gave a brief outline of th^ 



224 BOLAND YORKE. 

case ; Bede left him in the middle of it ta 
welcome fresh arrivals. Something awfiilly 
fine loomed up, in pink silk and lace, and 
blazing emeralds. ' It was Mrs. Bede Great- 
orex. Her chignon was a mile high, and her 
gown was below her shotdder-blades. The 
modest yoimg clergyman tiuned away at the 
sight, his cheeks flushing a dusky red. Not 
in this kind of society of late years, the cu- 
riosities of fashionable attire were new to 
him. 

*^ Is Bede mad T he inwardly said, " or haa 
he lost all control over his wife's actions T 

Somebody else, not used to society, was 
staring on with all the eyes of wonder he 
possessed. And that was Roland Yorke. 
Leaning against the wall in a new suit of 
dress-clothes, with a huge pair of white gloves 
on that would have been quite the proper 
thing at Port Natal, stood Roland. Mr. OUi- 
vera, tryiag to get away from everybody, ran 
against him. The two were great friends now, 
and Roland was in the habit of running up to 
Mr. OUivera's drawing-room at wiQ." 

" I say,'' began Roland, " this is rather 
strong, is it not T 

" Do you mean the crowd T 

" I mean everything. Some of the girls 
and women look as if they had forgotten to 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 225 

put their gowns on. Why do they dress in 
this way T 

" Because they fancy it's the fashion, I sup- 
pose/' replied Mr. OUivera, drawing down the 
comers of his thin Hps. 

" They must have taken the fashion from 
the Zulu Kaffirs," returned Roland. " When 
one has been knocked about amidst that savage 
lot — ^fought with 'em, too, men and women — 
one loses superfluous fastidiousness, Mr. OUi- 
vera ; but I dorit think this is right." 

Mr. OUivera intimated that there could not 
be a doubt it was aU wrong. 

" Down in Helstonleigh, where I come from, 
they dress themselves decently," observed 
Ex)land, forgetting that his reminiscences of 
the place dated more than seven years back, 
and that fashion penetrates to aU the strong- 
holds of society, whether near or distant. 
" The girls there are lovely, too. Just look if 
they are not." 

Mr. OUivera, in some sUght surprise, fol- 
lowed the direction of the speaker s eyes, and 
saw a yoimg lady sitting back in a comer ; her 
white evening dress, her banded hair, the soft, 
pure flush on her deUcate face, aU as simple, 
and genuine, and modest as herself 

" That's what the girls are in my native 
place, Mr. OUivera." 

VOL. L \^ 



226 BOLAND YORKE. 

" Mrs. Bede Greatorex is a native of Hel- 
stonleigh, also," observed the clergyman, dryly. 
And for a moment Roland was dumb. The 
pink robe, the tower of monstrous hau*, and 
the shoulder-blades were in full view just then. 

" No, she is not,'' cried he, triumphantly. 
" The Johffe girls were bom in barracks ; they 
only came among us when the old colonel set- 
tled down.'' 

" Who is the young lady ?" 

" Miss Channing. Her brother and I are 
old chums. He is the grandest fellow living ; 
the most noble gentleman the world can shoTv. 
He — ^why, if I don't believe you know him 1'' 
broke off Roland, as a recollection of some- 
thing he had been told flashed across his mind. 

"I !" returned Mr. Ollivera. 

'^ Was Arthur Channing not at a — a certain 
night funeral?" asked Roland, dropping his 
voice out of dehcacy. " You know. When 
that precious cousin of mine. Bill Yorke, lent 
you his surplice." 

'' Yes, yes," said Mr. Ollivera, hastily; "I had 
forgotten the name. And so that is Arthur 
Channing's sister !" 

" She is governess to that provoking little 
wretch, Jane Greatorex," said polite Roland, 
forgetting in his turn that he was speaking of 
his Hstener's cousin, ^^ and she ought to be a 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 227 

queen. She ought, Mr. OUivera, and you 
would say so if you knew her. She looks 
one, does she not ? She's as like Arthur as 
two pins, and he's fit for the noblest king in 
the world." 

The clergyman slightly smiled. He had 
become accustomed to his new friend's impul- 
sive mode of speech. 

'^ Yes, we are both of us down just now, 
dependents of the Greatorex house — she 
teacher in it, I ofl&ce-clerk," went on Roland. 
" Never mind : luck may turn some day. I 
told Annabel so just now, but she sent me 
away. I was talking to her too much, she 
said, and made people stare. Perhaps it was 
so : I know her cheeks turned red every other 
minute." 

" And to make them paler, you take up 
your position here and gaze at her," observed 
Mr. OUivera with another smile — and smiles 
were rare from him. 

" Oh, law I" cried Roland. " I'm always 
doing something wrong. The fact is, there's 
nobody else worth looking at. See there 1 a 
yeUow gown and no petticoats under it. If 
this is fashion, I hope my mother and sisters 
are not going in for it ! I shall go back to 
her," he added, after a moment's pause. " It's 
a shame she should sit there alone, with 



228 ROLAND YORKE. 

nothing to look at but those Modek, passing^ 
and repassing right before her eyes. If Arthur 
were here, I believe he'd take her away. I 
do." 

Roland, vegetating in that unfeshionable 
region, Port Natal, had not yet become accus- 
tomed to the exigencies of modem days ; and 
he spoke freely. Just then the throng was 
great in front of him, and he remained where 
he was. Taller than almost any one in the 
room, he could look at Annabel *at will ; Mr. 
Ollivera, about up to Roland's shoulder, could 
get but occasional glimpses of her. Many a 
one glanced at Roland with interest, wonder- 
ing who the fine, strong young man was, 
leaning against the waU there, with the big^ 
white gloves on, and the good-natured face, 
unsopHsticated as a boy's. 

Elbowing his way presently across the room, 
something after the manner he might have 
elbowed through a crowd on the quay at Dur- 
ban, Roland once more took up his position by- 
Miss Channing. The old playfellows had 
become new friends, and Roland contrived 
that they should often meet. When Miss 
Channing was walking in the Square with her 
pupil, he was safe to run up, and stay talking ; 
quite obHvious to the exigencies of the office 
waiting for his services. Jane Greatorex had 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 229 

learned to look for him, and would walk 
where she was likely to see him, in defiance 
of Miss Channing. In spite of Roland's early 
fever to quit his native place, in spite of his 
prolonged rovings, he was essentially a home- 
bird, and could have been content to talk of 
the old days and the old people with Annabel 
for ever. 

" Where's Jane to-night ?" he began, as he 
joined her. 

^^ In bed. She was very naughty this 
evening, and for once Mr. Bede Greatorex in- 
terfered and sent her." 

" Poor child ! She is awfully troublesome, 
though, and one gets tired of that in the long 
run. If you — Halloa !" 

Roland stopped. He was gazing in sur- 
prise at some one standing near: a man 
nearly his own age, taU and strong, and bear- 
ing altogether a general resemblance to him- 
self But the other's face had a cynical cast, 
expressive of ill-nature, and the lips were dis- 
agreeably full. Roland recognized him for 
his brother, although they had not met for 
more than seven years. 

" That's Gerald, if ever I saw him in my 
life." 

^^Yes, it is Gerald," said Miss Channing, 



230 



ROLAl^D YORKE. 



quietly. " He generally comes to Mrs. Bede's 
soirees." 

" Isn't he got up 1" 

Ex)land's expression was an apt one. Gre- 
rald Yorke was in the very pink of male 
fashion. His manners were easy ; entirely 
those of a man at home in society. 

" He does it grand, does he not ?" cried 
Roland, who had made one advance towards 
making friends with his brother since coming 
to London, and was not responded to in kind. 

Miss Channing laughed. Gerald Yorke 
had entered on some kind of public career and 
was very prosperous, she believed, moving 
amidst the great ones of the land Roland, 
({uite forgetting where he was, or perhaps not 
caring, set up a whistle by way of attracting 
the attention of Gerald, who turned amidst 
others at the strange sound. 

" How d ye do, Gerald, old boy ? Come 
and shake hands." 

The voice was loud, glad, hearty ; the great 
hand, with its great white glove drawn up 
over it, minus a button, was stretched above 
intervening heads. Gerald Yorke's face grew 
dark with the light of annoyance, and he hesi- 
tated before making the best of the situation, 
and getting near enough to shake the offered 
hand. 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 231 

He would far rather have become conve- 
niently deaf, and walked off in an opposite 
direction. Alike though the two brothers 
were in general personal resemblance, no con- 
trast could be greater than they presented in 
other respects. Gerald, fine and fashionable, 
with his aristocratic air and his slow, affected 
drawl, was the very type of all that is false, 
of that insincerity and heartlessness obtain- 
ing ia what is called society. Roland, hot, 
thoughtless, never weighing a word before he 
spoke it, impulsive, genuine, utterly unso- 
phisticated as to the usages and manners that 
go to make up the meetings of fashionable 
hfe, was just as single-hearted and true. 

Gerald, as Roland put it, "went in" for 
grandeur, and he was already prejudiced 
against his brother. In a communication 
from Lord Carrick, apologizing for not being 
able to answer satisfactorily Gerald s appeal 
for a loan, that nobleman had confidentially 
avowed that he could not at present assist 
even Roland effectually, and had got him a 
place as clerk temporarily, to save him from 
embarking in the hot-pie line. It may there- 
fore be readily understood that Gerald did 
not consider an intimacy with Roland likely 
to conduce to his own advancement (to say 
nothing of respectability) and his annoyance 



232 BOLAND YORKE. 

tuid surprise at seeing him now where he. did 
were about equally great. 

The hands were shaken, and a few words 
of greeting passed ; warm and open on Ro- 
land s part, cool and cautious on Gerald s. A 
friend of Gerald's, the Honourable Mr. Some- 
body, who was by his side and begged for an 
introduction, was more cordial than he. 

" I have not seen him since we parted seven 
years ago, when I went off to Port Natal/' 
explained Ex)land with his accustomed can- 
dour. " Haven't I had ups and downs since 
then, Gerald I" he continued, turning his 
beaming face upon his brother. " You have 
heard of them I dare say, through Carrick. " 

" You did not make a fortune,'' drawled 
Gerald, wishing he could get away. 

" A fortune ! Law bless you, Ger ! I was 
glad to work on the port with the Kitffirs, 
unloading boats ; and to serve in stores, and 
to drive cattle and pigs ; anything for bread. 
You can't think how strange all this seems to 
me" — pointing to the waving crowd in the 
room, sevenil of whom had gathered round, 
attracted by this fraternal meeting. 

" Aw I Surprised to see you amidst them," 
minced Gerald, wlio could not resist the little 
ill-natured hint, in his growing rage. 

" Mrs. Greatorex invited me," said Roland, 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 233 

« 

Ms honest simplicity detecting not the under- 
current of sarcasm. "I am in Greatorex's 
office ; I don't suppose you knew it, Gerald. 
They give me twenty shillings a week ; and 
Carrick goes bail for my rigging out. I got 
this coat from his tailor's to-night.^' 

The crowd laughed, the Honourable roared, 
and Gerald Yorke was half mad. 

" I'd not dchnowledge it, at any rate, if I 
were you," he said, imprudently, his affecta- 
tion lost in a gust of temper. " After all, 
you were bom a Yorke." 

"Acknowledge what, Ger?" returned Ro- 
land. 

." The — ^the — the shame of taking a common 
clerkship at twenty shillings a week ; and all 
the rest of the degradation," burst forth Ge- 
rald, setting conventionality at defiance. " My 
uncle. Lord Carrick, warned me of this ; my 
mother. Lady Augusta, spoke of it in a recent 
letter to me," he added for the benefit of the 
ears around. 

** Why, Ger, where's the use of being put 
out ?" retorted Roland, but with no symptom 
of ill-humour in his good-natured tone. " I 
was down, and had nobody to help me. Car- 
rick couldn't ; old Dick Yorke wouldn't ; 
Lady Augusta said she had all of you pulling 
at her : and so Carrick talked to Greatorex 



234 ROLAND YORKE. 

and Greatorex, and they put me into the 
place. The pound a week keeps me ; in 
clover too ; you should hear what I some- 
times was reduced to live on at Port NataL 
There was an opening for a hot-pie man down 
at Poplar, and the place was offered me ; if I 
had gone into that line you might have 
grumbled." 

The ladies and gentlemen shrieked with 
merriment : they began to think the fine 
young fellow, who looked every whit as in- 
dependent a man as his fastidious brother, 
waa chaffing them all. Gerald ground his 
teeth, and tried to get away. 

^* You'll come and see me, old fellow T said 
Roland. " IVe a stunning room, bed-room and 
sitting-room in one, the bedstead's let out at 
night. It is at Mother Jones's ; poor soft Jen- 
kins's widow, you know, that we used to wot 
of in the days gone by." 

Gerald made good his escape : and when 
they were quiet again, Roland had leisure to 
look at Miss Channing. Her bent face shone 
like a peony, the effect of vexation and sup- 
pressed laughter. 

" Why, what's the matter ?" he asked. 

" You should not say such things, Roland. 
It was quite out of place in a room like this." 

" What things ?" 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 235 

"About yourself. It is so different, you 
know, jBrom anything young men experience 
here." 

" But it is all true," returned Roland, un- 
able to see the argument. 

" Still it need not be proclaimed to an in- 
discriminate crowd. You might show more 
tact. Gerald was fit to die of mortification. 
And you who used to have so much pride !" 

Roland Yorke, honestly willing to please 
everybody and vex none, stood looking rue- 
fully. "As to pride, Annabel, if a fellow 
wants that knocked out of him, he had better 
go over to Port Natal, and get buffeted as I 
did," he concluded. " I left it all behind me 
there, Fm afraid. And, of tact, I don't think 
I ever possessed any." 

Which was perfectly true. 

Meanwhile Mr. Ollivera, waiting in vain to 
see Sir Thomas Kene enter, grew sick of the 
ever-changing, ever-moving panorama that 
jostled him, and went down stairs to his 
uncle's small and comfortable room, leaving 
word with the servants where he might be 
found if the Judge came in. Mr. Greatorex 
very rarely joined these large parties. He 
was sitting in quiet now, a bit of bright fire 
in the grate, for the evenings were still chilly, 
and a reading-lamp, newspapers, and books on 



236 ROLAND YORKE, 

the table. Slender, active, upright stiU, he 
scarcely looked his age, sixty-two : his fece 
was fresh yet, and not a thread of grey 
mingled with the smooth brown hair. 

" Henry, is it you !" he exclaimed ; for he 
was surprised to see his nephew enter at that 
late hour. And Mr. Ollivera, as he took a 
chair, apologized for interrupting him, but 
said he had grown so weary of the turmoil 
above. 

" You don't mean to say you have been 
making one of them I" 

" I have for once, uncle. It will serve me 
for ten years to come. People say to me 
sometimes, ' Why don't you go into society V 
Good heavens I to think that rational beings, 
God's people who have souls to be saved, can 
waste their precious hours in such, evening 
after evening I The women for the most part 
axe unseemly to behold; their bodies half 
dressed, their faces powdered and painted, 
their heads monstrosities, their attire sinfully 
lavish. The men affect to be heartless, drawl- 
ing coxcombs. It is a bad phase of life, this 
that we have drifted into, rotten at its core ; 
men and women alike artificial. Do you 
like this in your house. Uncle Greatorex ?" 

" When Bede married, I resigned to hiTn 
the mastership of the house, so far as 



GOING INTO SOdETY. 237^ 

these things were concerned/* repKed Mr. 
Greatorex. 

" I know. Does Bede like it V 

" He countenances it. For myself, I trou 
ble them but little now. Even my dinner I 
often cause to be served here. Bede's wife 
was civil enough to come down this evening^ 
and press me to join them/^ 

" Bede looks more worried than usual — and 
that need not be/' observed WiUiam OUivera. 
" What is it, I wonder ? To me he has the 
air of a man silently frettiog himself ioto his 
grave. '' 

" You know what it is, WiUiam,'' said Mr. 
Greatorex, in a low tone, and caUing hi» 
nephew, as he often did, by his second 
Christian name. "Bede's wife is his great 
worry. But there's another." 

'' What is it r 

" Illness," breathed Mr. Greatorex. " Symp- 
toms that we don't like have shown them- 
selves in him lately. However — ^they may 
pass away. The doctors think they will." 

^' I came here to meet Kene, whom I very 
particularly wish to see," resumed the clergy- 
man, after a pause. " Bede said he expected 
him." 

" Ay ; some magnet must have drawn you, 
apart from thxit,^' pointing his thumb at the 



238 BOLAND YORKE. 

rooms above. And Mr. OUivera explained 
why he was seeking the Judge. 

" I thought something fresh might have 
arisen in the old case ; or at least that you 
fancied it/' observed Mr. Greatorex. "You 
must be coming round to our way of think- 
ing, William. Time goes on, but that stands 
stiU." 

" I shall never come round to it." 

" John has been dead four years and two 
months, now," pursued Mr. Greatorex, 
" And it has stood stiQ all that time." 

William Ollivera leaned forward in his 
chair, and the fire and the lamp alike played 
on his wasted face, on the bright flush of emo- 
tion that rose lq his thin cheeks. 

'* Uncle ! Uncle Greatorex ! it is as fresh in 
my mind now as it was the first day I went 
down to Helstonleigh, and saw him lying 
white and cold and dead, with the ban of the 
coroner's verdict upon him. I cannot shake it 
off: and of late I am not sure but I have tried 
to do so, in the sheer weariness of prolonged 
disappointment. ' Tarry yet awhile, and wait,' 
a voice seems saying ever to me : and I am 
content to wait. I cannot rest; I find no 
peace. When I wake in the morning, I say, 
^ This day may bring forth fruit ;' when I go 
to rest at night, the thought, that it has not, is 



GOING INTO SOCIETY. 239 

the last upon me. There will be neither rest 
nor peace for me until I have solved the 
enigma of my brother's death; and I am 
always working on for it." 

" Sir Thomas Kene has come, sir/' inter- 
rupted a servant at this juncture, opening the 
door. 

Henry OUivera rose; and, wishing Mr. 
Greatorex good night, went forth to his inter- 
view with the Judge. 



CHAPTER XL 



DAY-DREAMS. 



The house was almost within a stone's-throw 
of Bedford Square ; one of a good street. Its 
drawing-room windows were thrown open to 
the fine evening twilight, and a lady sat at 
one of them in a musing attitude. She wa& 
very nice looking, with a clear healthy colour 
on her cheeks, and soft bright dark eyes that 
had a thought in them beyond her years, 
which may have been six or seven-and-twenty. 
The features were well-formed; the shapely 
mouth, its rather thin and decisive lips, and 
the pretty pointed chin, spoke of innate firm- 
ness. Her hand, displaying its wedding-ring 
and keeper, was raised to support Hghtly her 
head, the slender fingers touching the smooth 
dark brown hair. She was perfectly still ; not 
a movement betrayed that she heard or saw 
aught but her own thoughts; not a rustle 
stirred the folds of her soft silk dress, lying 
around her. 



I 



DAY-DREAMS. 241 

^* Shall I tell him, or not ?" she murmuied 
at length. " I have never had any conceal- 
ment from him yet, nor he from me : but then 
I know it will pain and worry him. He has 
certainly changed a little : in the old days it 
seemed that anxiety could never touch him ; 
that he would always throw it from him with 
a, light word. Heigho ! I suppose it comes 
with the cares of life.^' 

A moment's pause, during which she was 
again stiU as before, and then the soliloquy 
was resumed. 

" I could keep it from him, if needs were : 
the postman gave me the letter as I was going 
out, and no one knows of its arrival. But still 
— I don't like to begin it ; and he might feel 
vexed afterwards : for of course he must come 
to know of it sometime. Oh dear 1 I never 
felt so irresolute before. They used to say at 
home I was so very downright. I wonder 
which would be right to do ? If I were sure 
he " 

The room door was pushed open with a 
sudden whirl, and a Uttle child came flying in 
with outstretched arms and a shouting, joyous 
laugh. 

" Mamma, mamma !" 

" NeUy I" 

The arms were entwined together, the 

VOL. I. 16 



242 ROLAND YORKE. 

golden head with its shower of silken curls^ 
nestled on the mother's bosom. Oh, but she 
was of rare loveliness, this chUd; with the 
dehcately fair features, the great blue eyes, 
the sunny hair, and ever-sunny temperament. 

^* Now, Nelly 1 You know you have been 
told over and over again not to be so bois- 
terous. Fancy a httle lady, just five years 
old, coming in like that 1 It might have been 
a great rude dog." 

Another sweet, joyous laugh in answer, a 
host of kisses pressed by way of peace-offering 
on the gentle face, bent down in reproof more 
mock than real. 

" Niu^e was running to catch me. She says 
it's bedtime." And, to confirm the assertion, 
the French clock on the mantle-piece at that 
moment told out eight. 

** So it is. Come and say good-night to 
papa, Nelly." 

Taking the child's hand she went out into 
what seemed a flood of Hght, after the gradu- 
ally darkening room. The hall-lamp threw its 
rays upwards ; on the gleaming sUk of her 
pale blue dress, on the white fairy robes of the 
child, on the well-carpeted stairs. In the front 
room below, the tea stood ready by the even- 
ing fire : they went through to another room; 
and the mother spoke. 



DAY-DREAMS. 243 

" Nelly haa come to wish papa good-night." 

Seated at the table of this inner room was a 
gentleman writing fast by a shaded candle. 
He looked up with a simny smile of welcome, 
and you saw the likeness then between the 
child and the feither. The winning, beautifiil 
features; the fair, bright complexion; the 
laughing blue eyes ; the gay, happy tempera- 
ment : all were the same. 

It was James Channing. Sunny Hamish, 
as he used to be called. He was but thirty; a 
tall, well-proportioned, but as yet very slender 
man; rising over six feet, altogether attrac- 
tive, handsome to look upon. Nelly, forget- 
ting her lecture, flew into his arms with a 
shout and a laugh, as she had into those of 
her mother. 

"And what may this young lady have been 
about that she has not come to see me before, 
this evening T he asked. 

'* Nurse kept her out rather late, Hamish, 
for one thing, and I knew you were busy," 
came the answer; not from the child, but from 
Mrs. Chamung. 

"Yes, I am very busy. I have not any 
minutes to give even to my darling Nelly to- 
night," he fondly said, kissing the bright hair 
and the rosy Kps. " Nelly must go to bed 
and dream of papa instead." 



244 BOLAND YOBKE. 

"You'll have time when the ship comes 
home, papa/' said the child 
" Lots of time then/' 
" The ship is to be a book" 

" And it will bring great luck ?" 

" Yes. Please God." 

The last words were murmured in a tone 
suddenly hushed to reverence ; low and happy; 
hopeful with a great, glad, assured hope, 
cheering to listen to ; a trusted hope that 
lighted up the whole countenance of the man 
with its radiance, and shone forth in beams 
from his blue eyes. But he said no more ; 
not even to his wife and his little child could 
he speak of the sanguine joy that anticipation 
wrought within him. 

With too many kisses to be counted, with 
good nights spoken yet and yet again, Nelly 
was released and disappeared with her mother. 
The child had been trained welL There was 
some indulgence on the parents' side — ^perhaps 
that is indispensable in the case of an only 
child — ^but there was neither trouble nor re- 
bellion on hers. Little Nelly Channing had 
been taught to obey good laws ; and, to do 
so, came to her naturally. 

Mrs. Channing took her up stairs and turned 
into her own dressing-room, as usual She 



DAY-DBEAMS. 245 

deemed it well that the cliild should say her 
prayers in soKtude, and, always when practi- 
cable, in the same place. Nelly sat down of 
her own accord by her mother, and was quite 
stiQ and quiet while a very few easy verses 
from the Bible were read to her ; and then 
she knelt down to say her simple prayers at 
her mother's knee. 

"God bless my darhng little Nelly, and 
make her a good girl !" said Mrs. Channing, 
as she took her out and resigned her to the 
nurse. 

" Are you ready for tea, Hamish T she 
asked when she went down stairs again. 

" Quite. But, Ellen, I think I shaU have 
to trouble you to bring it to me to-night. '' 

" Are you so very busy V 

" Ay. Look here." 

He pointed with his pen to some papers on 
the table. ** Those are proof sheets : and I 
must get this manuscript in to-morrow, or 
they will not insert it in the next month's 
number." 

" Hamish, I hope you are not doing too 
much," she gravely said. " I don't like this 
night-work." 

He laughed gleefully. " Too much ! I only 
wish I had too much to do, Ellen. Never 
fear, dear." 



246 ROLAND YORKE. 

" I wish you would teacli me to correct the 
proofe." 

" What an idea !" 

" I shall teach myself, sir." 

" It would be waste of time, young lady. 
I could not let anybody go over my proofs but 
myself." 

'* You vain fellow I I wonder if self-conceit 
is indigenous to you hterary men ? Are they 
all as vain as Hamish Chaoning ?" 

He took up the pen-wiper and threw it at 
her. But somehow Ellen was not in a mood 
for much jesting to-night. She put the pen- 
wiper — a rosette of red cloth — on the table 
again, and went and stood in silence with her 
hand on his shoulder. He turned his head. 

'' What is it, love T 

** Hamish, I would bring in your tea will- 
ingly ; you know it ; but I think it would do 
you more good to leave this work, if only for 
five minutes. And I have something to say 
to you." 

*' Very well. I can't come for a quarter of 
an hour. You are a regular martinet." 

Ellen Channing left him and sat down in 
the other room to wait ; and this will afford 
the opportunity for a word of explanation. 
Amidst the very very many people in all 
classes of life, high and low, on whom a cer- 



DAY-DREAMS. 247 

tain recent panic had wrought its disastrous 
eflfects, was Hamish Channing. The bank, of 
which he had been manager in Helstonleigh, 
was drawn into the vortex by the failure of 
another bank, and went in its turn. Honour- 
able men had to do with it ; they sacrificed 
their own property in the emergency, and not 
a, creditor suffered ; every one was paid in fulL 
It could not be reorganized, and it left Ha- 
mish without employment. His wife's father, 
Mr. Huntley, had been one of the principal 
shareholders, and on him had fallen the greater 
weight of the heavy loss. It fell, too, at a 
time when Mr. Huntley could not afford to 
sustain it. He possessed a large property in 
Canada, but it had latterly begun to yield 
him little or no return. Whether in conse- 
quence of local depreciation, or of mismanage- 
ment (or perhaps something worse) on the 
part of his agents there, he knew not, and he 
sent his son out to see. The young man (he 
was three or four years younger than Mrs. 
Channing, and quite inexperienced) seemed 
not to be able to grapple with the business ; 
he wrote home most confused and perplexing 
accounts, of which Mr. Huntley could make 
nothing. At length that gentleman resolved 
to go out himself; and the letter we have 
heard Mrs. Charming alluding to to-day was 



248 BOLAND YORKE. 

from him. It waa the second news they had 
received, the first having merely announced 
his safe arrival : and the accounts this last 
contained were so gloomy that Ellen Charming 
would fain have kept them from her husband. 

It must be distinctly luiderstood that the 
failure of the bank in Helstonleigh was in no 
way connected with ill-management. Had a 
quorum of the wisest business-men in the 
world been at its head, they could neither 
have foreseen its downfall nor averted it. 
Therefore Hamish Channing came out of that, 
as he had out of every untoward thing aU hi» 
life, untarnished in honour and in character. 
A small secretaryship was ofiered him in Lon- 
don, which he accepted ; and he removed to 
the great city, with his wife and little daugh- 
ter, his goods and chattels, there to set up his 
tent. A very small income had been settled 
on Ellen when she married ; the larger portion 
of her fortune was to accrue to her on her 
father's death. Whether it would be much, 
or little, or any, imder the altered state of 
affairs, it was impossible now to say. 

But it was not on the secretaryship that 
Hamish Channing depended for fame or for- 
tune. A higher and dearer hope was his. 
That Hamish possessed in a high degree that 
rarest of all God's gifts, true genius, he had 



DAY-DREAMS. 249 

long known. Writers of talent the world has 
had, and had in abundance, men and women ; 
of real genius but few. Perhaps, after all, 
the difference is not veiy distinguishable by 
the general mass of readers. But, to those 
who possess it, its characteristics are unmistak-^ 
able. The divine light (is it too much to call 
it so ?) that lies within them shines as a very 
beacon, pointing on to fame ; to honour ; above 
aU, to appreciation : the knowledge that they 
are different jfrom their feUow-mortals, of a 
higher and nobler and rarer order, and that 
the world will sometime recognize the fact and 
bow down in worship, is never absent from the 
consciousness of the inner heart. 

But, with the gift, James Channing also 
possessed its almost invariably accompanying 
attribute : a refined sensitiveness of feeling. 
And that is a quality not too well calculated 
to do battle with rude, every-day life. Should 
the great hope within him ever meet with a 
stem, crushing disappointment, his inability 
to bear the shock would in all probability 
show itself in some very marked degree. No 
one but himself knew or suspected the ex- 
treme sensitiveness of his every feeling ; it 
had been hidden hitherto under the noncha- 
lant ease of manner, the sunny temper which 
made Hamish Channing s great charm. When 



250 ROLAND YOBKE. 

the bank was broken up, and with it his home 
and his greater means of Uving, it was not felt 
by him as many another man would have felt 
it : for it seemed only to render more feasible 
the great aim of his life — ^the devoting him- 
self to literature. Years asfo he had befifun 
to write : and the efforte were first effo^ 
somewhat crude, as all first efforts, whether 
given to the world or not, must of necessity 
be, but they bore immistakably the stamp of 
genius. His appointment to the bank and his 
marriage interrupted his writing; and his 
genius and pen had alike lain dormant for 
some six years. His wife's father, Mr. Hunt- 
ley, had procured his later appointment to the 
London secretaryship, and Hamish did not 
venture to decline it and devote himself 
wholly to literature, as he would have liked 
to do. The pay, though small, was sure ; 
Ellen's income was smaller stiU, and they 
must live ; so he accepted it. His duties 
there occupied him from nine to four : and 
aU his available time beyond that, early and 
late, was devoted to writing. The day's em- 
ployment was regarded as but a temporary 
clog, to be given up as soon as he found his 
income from literature would justify it. To 
accomplish this desirable end, he was doing a 
^eat deal more than was good for him and 



DAY-DREAMS. 251 

taking too little rest. In point of fact, he 
had, you see, two occupations, each one of 
which would have been sufficient for an indus- 
trious man. What of that ? Hamish never 
so much as cast a thought to it. 

Oh, with what a zest had he re-commenced 
the writing, laid aside for so long ! It was like 
returning to some glad haven of rest. Joy 
fiUed his whole being. The past six years had 
been heavy with suppressed yearning ; the 
yearning to be about the work for which he 
knew God had pre-eminently fitted him : but 
his duties had been onerous, his time nearly 
fully taken up ; and when he would have 
snatched some moments from night for the 
dearer work, his wife and his anxious friends 
had risen up in arms against it, for he was not 
over-strong, and some delicacy of constitution 
was preached about. Besides, as Mr. Hunt- 
ley said, a writing manager might alarm the 
bank s patronizers. But he had it all his own 
way now, and made good profit of his writings. 
Papers on social questions of the day, essays, 
stories, were in turn written, and taken by 
different periodicals. They Jiad to be written, 
apart from other hopes and views, for the style 
in which they lived required additional means 
to support it, beyond his salary and his wife's 
money. It was not much style, after all, no 



252 BOLAND YORKE. 

extravagance ; three maid-servants, and little 
company ; but everybody knows how money 
seems to melt in London. 

He had been at this work now for a year. 
And his wife was beginning to grow anxious, 
for she knew he was doing too much, and told 
him he was wearing himself out. K he could 
but resign the secretaryship ! was ever in her 
secret hopes and thoughts just as much as his; 
and she wished her father could get his Cana^- 
dian affairs well settled, so as to allow the 
necessary addition to her income. Hamish 
laughed at this. He was living in a glad 
dream of future fame and fortune : that it 
would inevitably come, he felt as sure of as 
though it lay at hand now, ready to be picked 
up. He was writing a long work ; a work 
in three volumes ; and this was the precious 
gem on which aU his hopes and love and 
visions were centred. The periodical writing 
had to be done, for its returns were needed ; 
but every spare moment, apart from that, was 
devoted to the book. A light of gladness 
beamed from his eyes ; a joy, sweet as the 
chords of some soothing melody, lay ever on 
his spirit. Oh, what is there of bliss and love 
in the world that can compare with this ! 
And it is known to so few ; so few : by all 
else it can never be so much as imagined. Do 



DAT-DfiEAM& 253 

not mistake it, joji Who read, for the pleasur- 
able anticipation ot a man or woman who may 
from chance causes have " taken up " the pro- 
fession of litemture, and look for the good, 
substantial and otherwise, that it is to bring. 
The two are wholly different : the one is bom 
of heaven, the other of earth. But that man 
must live, Hamish Channing amidst the rest, 
the thought of money being one of the returns, 
would be distasteftd ; never, as I honestiy be- 
lieve, accepted as such without a blush : the 
dross of earth mingling with the spiritualized, 
exalted, pure joy of Eden. It is weU that this 
same gift of genius with its dear pleasures and 
its attendant after-pains — for they come — 
should be vouchsafed to a unit amidst tens of 
thousands ! 

Mrs. Channing sat waiting for hinn ; the 
tea standing before her, herself thoughtfuL 
The room was of good size and handsomely 
famished, its chairs and curtains of rich pur- 
ple cloth. Their furniture had been a present 
from Mr. Hiuitley when they married, who 
was not one to do things niggardly. As Mrs. 
Channing sat, facing the inner door, the win- 
dows were behind her ; the fire-place, with its 
ornaments and its large chimney-glass on her 
left ; a piano on one side it, a white marble- 
topped cabinet with purple silk h'nmg to its 



254 ROLAND YORKE. 

glass-doors on the other; and on her right, 
stood the sideboard, and other furniture. 
The inner room, used exclusively by Hamish 
for writmg, had horsehair chaire, and a book- 
case running all along the side of the wall. 

The door opened, and Hamish came in. 
He had a small bundle in his hand ; proof 
sheets done up for the post, and sent them out 
at once by the maid, as he sat down to tea. 
Which he seemed inclined to swallow at a 
gulp, and to eat his piece of bread-and-butter 
wholesale, ever anxious to get back to his 
labour and the glowing visions of promise 
connected with it. 

" Hamish, I do believe you like your writ- 
ing better than you like mel" Ellen said to 
him one day almost passionately. And for 
answer, Mr. Hamish in his sauciness had said 
he was not sure but he did. 

He sat there at tea, now, talking gaily as 
usual. His wife interrupted him, telling of 
the letter she had received, and its unfavour- 
able news. He listened with his sunny 
smile. 

" I had great mind not to tell you at all, 
Hamish," she confessed. ^^ Papa's tempera- 
ment is nearly as sanguine as yours; and 
if he writes in poor spirits, saying he fears 



DAY-DBEA3MD3. 255 

it may turn out that lie is a ruined man, I 
know things must be very bad." 

*^But why have hesitated to tell me, 
EUen r 

" To save you anxiety. Don't you see 
what it implies ? If papa loses his property, 
the fortune that would have been mine some- 
time will be lost too." 

Had she been speaking of the probable losa 
of some mere trifle, he could scarcely have 
heard it with more equanimity. It seemed 
to Hamish that the future was, according to 
human foresight, in his own hands. 

"Never mind, EUen, we have a resource 
that cannot be lost. I will take care of you. 
Heaven aiding me ; you shall have every 
needful and substantial good in abundance." 

" Yes, that is just it. You work too much 
already : you would work more then." 

Hamish laughed. " Do you know what I 
wish, Ellen ? I wish the day were four-and- 
twenty hours long instead^ of twelve, and 
that I had two sets of brains and hands." 

" How are you getting on ?" 

" Oh, so well. It is aU right, my darling. 
And wm be." 

They were interrupted by a visitor — ^Mr. 
Roland Yorke. There had been a casual 
meeting once or twice, but this was the first 



256 BOLAND YORKE. 

time he had been there. They invited him 
to come ; but Roland had the grace to be 
ashamed of a certain escapade of his in the 
days gone by, which brought disgrace for the 
time being on Arthur Channing, and he had 
rather held back from appearing. This he 
partially confessed. 

"It would have been so different, you 
know, Hamish, had I retiuned with a few 
millions from Port Natal, and gone home to 
atone to Arthur in the face and eyes of all 
the town, and done honour to him for what 
he is, the best man Hving, and heaped a for- 
time upon him. But I have not been able 
to do that. I'd rather rush off again to Port 
Natal and its troubles, than I'd go within 
miles of Helstonleigh." 

" And so, to mend it, you thought you 
would keep miles away from me,'* said 
Hamish, with his glad smile of welcome. 
" I think there's only one person in the world 
would be more glad to see you than I, and 
that's Arthur himself" 

" I know. I know what a good fellow you 
always were. But I hadn't the face to come, 
you see. It was Annabel made me now." 

Suddenly shaking both their hands in the 
heartiest manner, with a grip that brought 
pain to Mrs. Channing, who wore rings. 



DAY-DREAMS. 257 

Koland fell to at the tea. Hamish, remem- 
bering his appetite of old, rang the beU for 
some good things to be brought in; and 
Roland was speedily in the midst of the most 
comfortable enjoyment, mentally and bodily. 
He gave them his own confidence without the 
least reserve, both as to present and past ; 
gravely telling everything, including the 
nearly-embraced hot-pie scheme of commerce, 
which made Hamish hold his sides, aad the 
having met Gerald at Mrs. Bede Greatorex's 
party. 

" I rather expect Gerald here this evening," 
remarked Hamish. 

^^ Do you ?" said Roland, his mouth fiill of 
savoury pie. "He won't be too pleased to 
see me ; he means to cut me, I'm nearly sure. 
Do you see much of him, Hamish V 

Hamish explained that he did. They were 
both in the literary line ; and Gerald had 
some good engagements as a reviewer. 

" Where's his wife r asked Roland. "Yes, 
please, Mrs. Channing, another cup; plenty 
of milk and sugar." 

" In the country; somewhere in Gloucester- 
shire. Gerald is not too communicative on 
that score." 

" Don't you think, Hamish, he must have 
VOL. I. 17 



268 ROLAND YORKK 

been a great duflfer to go and many before he 
knew how he could keep a wife V 

Hamish raised his eyebrows with the good- 
natured indifferent manner that Boland so 
well remembered in the days gone by; but 
answer made he none. Where Hamish Chan- 
ning could not praise, he would not blame. 
Even by his immediate relatives Gerald's im- 
prudent marriage was tacitly ignored, and the 
Lady Augusta Yorke had threatened to box 
Roland's ears in Ireland, when he persisted 
in asking about it. 

" I always knew Gerald would not go 
into the Church," remarked Roland. "7" 
wouldn't ; they say Tod threatened to run off 
to sea if they talked to him of it : somehow 
we boys have a prejudice against following my 
father's calling. Ill tell you a secret, Hamish : 
if a fellow wants to be Tnade, to have his non- 
sense knocked out of him, he must go to Port 
Natal. Do you remember the morning you 
saw me decamping off for London on my way 

to it r 

" Don't I," said Hamish, his lips parting 
with merriment at the remembrance. " There 
was commotion that day at Helstonleigh, Ro- 
land ; in Galloway's office especially." 

"And dear old Arthur buried his wrongs 
and went to the rescue ; and poor dying Jen- 



DAY-DREAMS. 269 

kins got out of his bed to help. He was no- 
thing but a calf, poor fellow, a reed in Mrs. 
J.'s hands, but he was good as gold. I say, 
she^s altered." 

" Is she r 

Roland nodded. " The going to Port Natal 
made me, Hamish," he resumed ; and Hamish 
was slightly surprised at the serious tone. " I 
should have been one of the idlest of the 
family batch but for the lesson I got read to 
me there. I went out to make my fortune ; 
instead of making it, I had to battle with ill- 
fate, and ill-fate won the day. They call it 
names of course; a mistaken enterprise, a 
miserable failure; but it was just the best 
thing that could have happened for me. I 
was a proud, stuck-up ignoramus; I should 
have depended on Carrick, or anybody else, to 
get my living for me ; but I mean now to earn 
it for myself" 

When Hamish went to his work later, leav- 
ing EUen to entertain their guest, Roland fol- 
lowed him with his eyes. 

There was a change in Hamish Channing, 
apparent to one even as unobservant as Ro- 
land. The face was thinner than of yore ; its 
refined features were paler ; they looked ethe- 
realized, as it seemed to Roland. The sweet- 
natured temperament was there stiU, but some 

VI— ^ 



260 ROLAND YORKE. 

of its once gay lightness had given place to 
thought. The very frequent mocking tone 
had been nearly entirely laid aside for one of 
loving considerateness to aJL 

" What are you looking at ?" questioned 
Ellen, struck with Boland's fixed gaze and 
unusual seriousness. 

"At him. He is so changed.'* 

" Older, do you mean ?" 

" Law bless you, no. Of course he is older 
by more than seven years ; but he is very 
yoimg-looking stiU; he does not look so old 
as I do, and I am two years his jimior. I 
used to think Hamish Channing the hand- 
somest fellow living, but he was nothing then 
to what he is now. I hope you won't consider 
it's wrong of me to say it, Mrs. Channing, but 
there's something in his face now that makes 
one think of Heaven." 

" Mr. Yorke !" 

" There ! I knew what it would be. Mr. 
OUivera flies out at me when I say wrong 
things. Other people don't say them. It 
must have been that Port Natal. I thought 
I was dead once, over there," added Roland, 
passing on to another topic with his usual 
abruptness. 

Ellen smiled; she had spoken in surprise 
only. Roland Yorke, who had brought his 



DAY-DREAMS. 261 

chair round to the fire, sat opposite to her, 
his elbow on his knee, his head bent forward. 

" I don't mean that it makes one think he 
is going to Heaven — agoing to die before his 
time ; you need not be afraid, Mrs. Channing. 
It was not that kind of thought at all ; only 
that the angels and people about, up there, 
must have just such faces as Hamish's ; good, 
and pure, and beautiful; and just the same 
sweet expression, and the same loving-kind- 
ness in the tone of voice." 

Roland stopped and pulled at his dark 
whiskers. Mrs. Channing began to think he 
had also changed for the better. 

" Many a one, remembering the past, would 
have just turned their backs upon me, Mrs. 
Channing. Instead of that, he is as glad to 
see me, and makes me as cordially welcome as 
if I were a lord, or a prize pig sent him at 
Christmas. What did I nearly die of? you 
ask. Well, of fever; but I got all sorts of 
horrid torments. I had the eye-epidemic ; it's 
caused by the dust, and I thought I was going 
blind. Then I had what they call Natal sores, 
a kind of boil ; then I nearly had a sUn-stroke ; 
the heat's something awful, you know. And I 
got the ticks everlastingly." 

*^ Do you mean the tic-douloureux ?" 

^' Law bless you ! A Port Natal tick is an 



262 BOLAND YORKE. 

insect. It sits on the top of the grass waiting 
for you to pass by and darts into your legs ; 
and no earthly thing will get it oflf again, ex- 
cept tugging at it with tweezers. They have 
no wings or mouth, nothing but a pair of 
lancets and a kind of pipe for a body, covered 
with spikes. Oh, they are nice things. When 
I set up that store for leeches and candles and 
pickled pork, I used to go and get the leeches 
myself, to save buying ; lots of them grow in. 
the rivulets round about ; but I would brings 
home a vast many more ticks than leeches, 
and that didn't pay, you know. Where's the 
Httle thing r 

" Nelly ? She has gone to bed." 
" She is the prettiest child I ever saw." 
" She is just like her papa," said Mrs. 
Chaiming, whose cheeks were flushing softly 
with pardonable love and pride at the praise 
of her child. 

" So she is. When wiU his book be out ?" 
" Ah, I don't know. He is getting on. 
quickly, he tells me. I think he is a ready 
writer." 

" I suppose most men of genius are that," 
remarked Roland. " He does not talk much 
about it, does he ?" 

" Not at all. A very little to me. These 
wonderful hopes and dreams that lie down 



DAY-DREAMS. 263 

deep witMn us, and go to make up the con- 
cealed inner life of our dearest feelings, cannot 
be spoken of to the world. I have none," she 
added, slightly laughing ; " I am more prac- 
tical." 

" Hamish is so hopefiil ! It is his tempera- 
ment." 

" Hopeful /" repeated Mrs. Channing ; " in- 
deed he is : like nothing I ever saw. You 
have heard of day-dreams, Mr. Yorke; well, 
this book is his day-dream. He works at it 
late and early, almost night and day. I tell 
him sometimes he must be wearing himself 
out." 

" One never does really wear out from 
work, Mrs. Channing. I used to think I was 
wearing out at old Galloway's ; but I didn't 
know what work was until I got to NataL I 
learnt it then." 

" Did you sit up to work at nights at Port 
Natal ?" 

" Only when I had not got a bed to go to," 
answered candid Roland. " Mine was not 
that kind of work, sitting up to bum the mid- 
night oil ; it lay in knocking about." 

" That's quite different." 

" What puzzles me more than anything is, 
that Gerald should have turned author," re- 
sumed Eoland. " Henry OUivera was talking 



264 ROLAND YORKE. 

about genius at our place the other day. 
Why, according to what he described it to 
be, Gerald Yorke must have about as much 
genius as a walking gander/' 

Ellen laughed. " Hamish says Gerald has 
no real genius," she said. "But he has a 
good deal of talent. He is what may be 
called a dashing writer." 

"Well, I don't know," disputed Eoland, 
who was hard of beUef in these alleged quali- 
ties of his brother. " I remember in the old 
days at home, when Gerald was at the college- 
school, he couldn't be got to write a letter. 
If Lady Augusta wanted him to write a letter 
to Carrick, or to George out in India, she 
would have to din at him for six months. He 
hated it Uke poison." 

" That may have been idleness." 

" Oh, we all went in for that," acknow- 
ledged Roland. " I should have been a very 
lazy beggar to the end of time but for the 
emigration to Port Natal." 



CHAPTEE XII. 

COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE OF GBEATOBEX 

AND GREATOREX. 

The summer sun, scorching the walls of 
houses and the street pavements with its heat 
and its glare, threw itself in great might into 
the ofl&ces of Greatorex and Greatorex. Josiah 
Hurst and Roland Yorke were at their desk, 
writing side by side. Jenner was at his, 
similarly occupied; Mr. Brown was holding 
a conversation in an undertone with some 
stranger, who had entered with him as he 
came in from an errand : a man of respectable, 
staid appearance. Something in the cut of 
his clothes spoke of the provinces ; and Ro- 
land Yorke, who never faUed to look after 
other people's affairs, however pressing his 
own might be, decided that the stranger was 
a countryman, come up to see the sights of 
London. 

" Which I can't, except from the outside," 
grumbled Roland to himself " It's an awfiil 



266 KOLANB YOBKE. 

sell to have to go about witli empty pockets, 
I wonder who the fellow is ? — ^he has been 
whispering there twenty minutes if he's been 
one. He looks as if he had plenty in Aw." 

Mr. Bede Greatorex came in and took his 
place at his desk. The head-clerk drew his 
head away from close proximity with his 
friend's, and commenced work; a hint to 
the stranger that their gossip must be at an 
end. 

The latter asked for a pen and ink, wrote 
a few words on a leaf he tore from his pocket- 
book, folded it in two, and gave it to Mr. 
Brown. 

" That is my address in town," he said. 
" Let me see you to-night. I leave to-morrow 
at mid-day." 

"Good," replied Mr. Brown, glancing at 
the writing on the paper. 

The stranger went out, lifting his hat to 
the room generally, and Mr. Brown put the 
paper away in his pocket. 

" Who was that ?" asked Mr. Bede Great- 
orex. 

"A gentleman I used to know, sir, a 
farmer," was the reply. " I met^ him outside 
just now, and he came in with me. We got 
talking of old times." 

" Oh, I thought it was some one on busi- 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 267 

ness for the office," said Mr. Bede Greatorex, 
half in apology for inquiring. His face looked 
worn as usual, his eyes bright and restless. 
Some of the family could remember that when 
the late Mrs. Greatorex had first shown symp- 
toms of the malady that killed her, her eyes 
had been unnaturally bright. 

The work went on The clocks drew near 
to twelve, and the sun in the heavens grew 
fiercer. Roland began to look white and 
flustered. What with the work and what 
with the heat, he thought he might as well 
be roughing it at Port Natal. He was doing 
pretty well on the whole — ^for him — and did 
not get lectures above four times a week. To 
help liking Roland was impossible ; with his 
frank manners, his fi:ee good-nature, his unso- 
phisticated mind, and his candid revelations 
in regard to himself, that would now and 
again plunge the office into private convul- 
sions. It was also within the range of possi- 
bility that his good connections, and the fact 
of his being fi:ee of the house, running up at 
will to pay unexpected visits to Mrs. Great- 
orex, had their due weight in Mr. Brown's 
mind; for breaches of office etiquette were 
tolerated in Roland that certainly would not 
have been in any other clerk, whether he was 
a gentleman or not. Roland had chosen to 



268 ROLAND YORKE. 

constitute himself a kind of enfant de la 
maison ; lie and liis brothers and sisters had 
been intimate with the Joliffe girls ; he could 
remember once having nearly got up a fight 
with Louisa, — ^now Mrs. Bede Greatorex; and, 
to make Boland understand that in running 
up-stairs when he chose, darting in upon Mrs. 
Greatorex as she sat in her boudoir or draw- 
ing-room, darting in upon Miss Channing as 
she gave lessons to Jane Greatorex, he was 
intruding where he ought not, would have 
been a hopeless task. Once or twice Mr. 
Bede Greatorex had voluntarily invited him 
up to luncheon or dinner ; and so Roland 
made himself free of the house, and in a de- 
gree swayed the oflSce. 

They were very busy to-day. The work 
which he and HiuBt and Jenner had in hand 
was being waited for, so that Boland had to 
stick to it, in spite of the relaxing heat, and 
fiilly decided he could not be worse off at 
Port Natal. The scratching of the pens was 
going on pretty equally, when Frank Great- 
orex came in. 

" I want a cheque from you, Bede." 

"Where's Mr. Greatorex?'' returned Bede 
in answer ; for it was to him such appHcations 
were made in general. 

" Gone out." 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 269 

Bede put aside the deed lie had been sedu- 
lously examining, went into his private room, 
and came back with his cheque-book. 

" How much T he asked of his brother, aa 
he sat down. 

" Forty-four pounds. Make it out to Sir 
Eichard Yorke.'' 

With a simultaneous movement, as it 
seemed, two of those present raised their 
heads to look at Frank Greatorex : Roland 
Yorke and Mr. Brown. The former was no 
doubt attracted by the sound of his kinsman'* 
name ; what aroused Mr. Brown's attention 
did not appear, but he stared for a moment in 
a kind of amazement. 

" Upon consideration, I don't think I'll take 
the cheque with me now; I will call for it 
later in the day, when I've been into the 
city," spoke a voice at the door; and Sir 
Richard Yorke appeared. Bede, who was 
just then signing the cheque, " Greatorex and 
Greatorex," finished the signature, and came 
forward to shake hands. 

" How d'ye do, sir," spoke up Roland. 

Sir Richard's Uttle eyes peered out over his 
fat face, and he condescended to recognise his 
nephew by a nod. Bede Greatorex spoke a 
few words to the baronet, touching the matter 
in hand, and turned back to his desk, leaving 



270 ROLAND YORKE. 

Frank to escort the old gentleman out. Bede, 
about to cross the cheque, hesitated. 

" Did Mr. Frank say a crossed cheque T he 
asked, looking up. 

*^ No, sir : he said simply a cheque," said 
Jenner, finding nobody else LweiS. 

" Yes," broke out Eoland, " it's fine to be 
that branch of the family. Gretting their 
cheques for forty-four pounds ! I wish I could 
get one for forty-four shillings." 

^;Have the goodnessTXnd to your own 
business, Mr. Yorke." 

Bede Greatorex left the cheque imcrossed. 
In a few minutes, after putting things to 
rights on his desk, he gathered up his papers, 
including the cheque and cheque-book, and 
went into his room. Putting the things alto- 
gether into his desk there, — for he had an en- 
gagement at twelve, and the hour was within 
a minute or two of striking, — ^he locked it 
and went out by the other door, not coming 
into the front room again. 

Now it happened that Bede Greatorex, who 
had expected to be absent half an hour at the 
longest, was unavoidably detained, so that 
when Sir Eichard Yorke retmned for his 
cheque it could not be given to him. Mr. 
Greatorex, however, was at home then, and 
drew out another. And the day went on. 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 271 

" You must cancel that cheque, Bede/' Mr. 
Greatorex casually observed to his son that 
same evening, after office-hours. " It was 
very unbusiness-like to leave it locked up, 
when you were not sure of coming back in 
time to give it to Sir Richard." 

*^ But I thought I was sure. It does not 
matter.'' 

" If you will bring me those title-deeds of 
CardweU's, I'll go over them myself quietly, 
and see what I can make out," said Mr. 
Greatorex. 

Bede crossed the passage to his private 
room, and unlocked his deck. The deeds Mr. 
Greatorex asked for were the same that he 
had been examining in the front office in the 
morning. Some flaw had been discovered in 
them, or was suspected, and it was likely to 
give the office some trouble, which would fall 
on Bede's head. There they lay inside the 
desk, just as Bede had placed them in the 
morning, with the paper-weight upon them ; 
detained at Westminster until a late hour, he 
had not been to his desk since. Reminded by 
his father to destroy the cheque — ^useless now 
— Bede thought he would do it at once. 

But he could not find it. Other papers, 
besides the title-deeds, cheque, and cheque- 
book, he had placed within, and he went care- 



272 ROLAND YORKE. 

fully over them all, one by one. Nothing was 
missing, nothing had apparently been touched, 
but the cheque certainly was not there. He 
searched his desk in the front office, quite for 
form's sake, for he knew that he had carried 
the cheque with him to his private room. 

" One would think you had been drawing 
out the deeds," remarked Mr. Greatorex when 
he returned. 

" I can't find that cheque,'' answered Bede. 

" Not find the cheque 1" repeated Mr. Great- 
orex. " What do you mean, Bede ?" 

Bede gave a short history of the affair. He 
had been in a hurry ; and, instead of staying 
to put the cheque and cheque-book into his 
cash-box, had left them loose in his table-desk 
with the title-deeds and sundry other papers. 

" But you locked your desk ?" cried Mr. 
Greatorex. 

" Assuredly. I have only unlocked it now. 
The cheque would be as safe there as in the 
cash-box." 

" You could not have put it in, Bede ; it 
must be somewhere about." 

" I am just as certain that I put it in, as I 
am that it is not there now." 

Mr. Greatorex did not believe it. Bede 
had been for some time showing himself less 
the keen, exact man of business he used to be. 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 273 

Trifling mistakes, inaccuracies, negligences, 
would come to light now and again ; vexing 
Mr. Greatorex beyond measure. 

" I don't know what to make of you of late, 
Bede,'' he said after a pause. " You know the 
complaints we have been obliged to hear. 
These very title-deeds" — ^putting his hand on 
those just brought in — " it was you who ex- 
amined and passed them. One negligence or 
another comes cropping up continually, and 
they may all be traced to yoiL Is your state 
of health the cause T 

" I suppose so," replied Bede, who felt con- 
scious the reproach was merited. 

" You had better take some rest for a time. . 
If ." 

" No," came the hasty interruption, as though 
the proposal were unpalatable. "Work is 
better for me than idleness. Put me out of 
harness, and I should knock up." 

" Bede," said Mr. Greatorex, in a tone of 
considerate Idndness, but with some hesita- 
tion, " it appears to me that you get more of 
a changed man day by day. You have not 
been the same since your marriage. I fear 
the cause, or a great portion of it, lies in Tfier ; 
I fear she gives you trouble. As you know, 
I have never spoken to you before of this ; I 
have abstained from doing so." 

VOL. I. 1& 



274 KOLAND YORKB. 

A flush, that had shown itself in the clear 
olive face when Mr. Greatorex began to speak, 
faded to whiteness ; the hand, that accident- 
ally touched his father's, felt fevered in all its 
veins. 

" At least, my wife is not the cause of my 
illness," he answered in a low tone. 

" I don't know that, Bede. That a great 
worry lies on your heart continually, that a 
kind of restless, nervous anxiety never leaves 
you by night or by day, is sufficiently plain 
to me ; I know that it can only arise from 
matters connected with your wife : and I also 
know that this, and this alone, tells upon your 
bodily healtL Your wife's extravagance is 
bringing you care : ruin will siu'ely supervene 
ifyoudonotcheckit." 

Bede Greatorex opened his lips to speak, 
but seemed to think better of it, and closed 
them again. His brow was knitted into two 
upright lines. 

" Unless you can do so, Bede, I shall be 
compelled to make an alteration in our ar- 
rangements. In justice to myself and to my 
other children, yoiu* name must be withdrawn 
from the firm. Not yourself and your profits : 
only the name, as a matter of safety." 

Bede Greatorex bit his lips. His father's 
heart ached for him. For a long while Mr. 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 275 

Greatorex had seen that his son's unhappy 
state of mind (and that it was unhappy no 
keen observer, much with him, could mistake) 
arose through his wife. And he thoioght Bede 
a fool for putting up with her. 

" You need not be afraid," said Bede. ^' I 
will take care the firm's interests are not af- 
fected.'' 

" How can you take care ?" retorted Mr. 
Greatorex, in rather a stem tone. "When 
debts are being made daUy in the most reck- 
less manner : debts that you know nothing 
of, until the bills come trooping in and you are 
called upon to pay, can you answer for what 
it will go on to ? Can I ? Many a richer 
man than either of us, Bede, has been brought 
to the Bankruptcy Court through less than 
this. Ay, and I wiU tell you what else, Bede — 
it has brought husbands to the grave. Whe^ 
people remark to me, ^ Your son Bede looks 
ill,' I quietly answer ^ Do you think so ?' when 
all the while I am secretly wondering that 
you can look even as well as you do." 

" Who remarks on it ?" asked Bede. 

" Who ! Many people. Only the other 
night, when Henry OUivera was here, he spoke 
of it." 

" Let Henry OUivera concern himself with 

18-2 



276 ROLAND YORKE. 

lis own affidrs," was the fierce answer. " Does 
lie want to be a ^^ 

Bede's voice dropped to an inaudible whis- 
per. But the concluding words had sounded 
like — " curse amongst us." 

" Bede ! Did you say curse T' 

"I said king" answered Bede. His nos- 
trils were working, his Ups were quivering, his 
chest was heaving ; aU with a passion he was 
trying to suppress. Mr. Greatorex looked at 
him, and waited. He had seen Bede in these 
intemperate fits of anger before : sometimes- 
for no apparent cause. 

"We will go back to the starting-point, 
this cheque, Bede," he quietly said. " You 
must have overlooked it. Go and search your 
desk again." 

Bede was leaving the room when he met a 
servant coming to it with a message. Mr. 
Yorke had called, and wished to see Mr. 
Greatorex for a couple of minutes : his busi- 
ness was important. 

The notion of Roland Yorke and important 
business being in connexion, brought a smile 
to the face of Mr. Greatorex. He told the 
servant to send him in. 

But instead of Roland, it was the son of 
Sir Richard Yorke who advanced. A very 
fashionable gentleman in evening dress, small 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 277 

and slight, with white hands, a lisp, and a 
sUky moustache. He had come about the 
cheque. 

Sir Richard, fatigued with his visit to the 
city, had gone straight home to Portland 
Place, after receiving the cheque jfrom Mr. 
Greatorex, and sent his son to the bankers' 
to get it cashed : a branch oflSce of the Lon- 
don and Westminster. The clerk, before he 
cashed it, looked at it rather attentively, and 
then went away for a minute. 

" We have cashed one cheque before to-day, 
sir, precisely similar to this," he said on his 
return. "Would Sir Richard be likely to 
have two cheques from Greatorex and Greato- 
rex in one day, each drawn for the same 
amount — ^forty-four pounds V 

" Greatorex and Greatorex are my father's 
men of business : he went to get some money 
from them to-day, I know ; I suppose he chose 
to receive it in two cheques instead of one," re- 
plied Mr. Yorke haughtily, for he deemed the 
question an impertinence. " Sir Richard may 
have wished to pay the half of it away." 

The clerk counted out the money and said 
no more. The cheques were undoubtedly 
genuine, the first made out in the well-known 
hand of Bede Greatorex, the last in that of 
his father, and the clerk supposed it was all 



278 ROLAND YORKE. 

right. Mr. Yorke sent the money up to Sir 
Richard when he got home, and went out 
again. * At dinner-time, he mentioned what 
the clerk had said — ** Insolent fellah \" — and 
the old baronet, who knew of the feict of two 
cheques having been drawn, took alarm. 

" He'd not let me wait an instant ; sent 
me off here before I'd well tasted my soup/^ 
grumbled Mr. Yorke. " One of you had better 
come and see him if the cheque has been lost 
and cashed ; or he'll ask me five himdred 
questions which I can't answer, and fret him- 
self into a fit. He has had one fit, you know. 
As to the cheque, it must have got into the 
hands of some clever thief, who made haste to 
reap the benefit of it." 

" And your desk must have been picked, 
Bede, if you are sure you put it in," observed 
Mr. Greatorex. 

" I am sure of that," answered Bede. " But 
I don't see how the desk can have been picked. 
Not a thing in it was displaced, and the lock 
is uninjured." 

Bede had a frightful headache — ^which was 
the cause of his looking somewhat worse than 
Tisual that evening, so Mr. Greatorex went to 
Sir Richard Yorke's. And in coming home he 
passed roimd by Scotland Yard. 

On the following morning, sitting in his 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 279 

room, he held a conference with his two sons, 
whom he had not seen on his return the pre- 
vioTis night. 

" They think at Scotland Yard it miist in- 
evitably have been one of the clerks in your 
room, Bede," said Mr. Greatorex. 

" One would think it, but that it seems so 
very unlikely," answered Bede. " Brown and 
Jenner have been with tis quite long enough 
for their honesty to be proved ; and the other 
two are gentlemen." 

" Their theory is this ; that some one, pos- 
sessing easy access to your private room, 
opened the desk with a false key." 

" For the matter of that, the clerks on our 
side the house could obtain nearly if not quite 
as easy access to Bede's room through its 
other door," observed Frank Greatorex. 

" Yes. But you forget, Frank, that none 
of them on our side the house knew of the 
cheque haviQg been drawn out and lefb there. 
Jelf will be in by-and-by." 

The morning's letters, recently delivered, 
lay before Mr. Greatorex in a stack, and he 
began to look at them one by one before open- 
ing ; his common ciistom. He came to one 
addressed to Bede, marked "Private" on both 
sides, and tossed it to his son 1 

Bede opened it. There was an inner enve- 



I 280 ROLAND YORKE. 

lope, sealed, and addressed and marked just 
like the outer one, which Bede opened in turn. 
Frank Greatorex, standing near his brother, 
was enabled to see that but a few lines formed 
its contents. Almost in a moment, before 
Bede could have read the whole, he crushed 
the letter together and thrust it into his 
pocket. Frank laughed. 

" Your correspondent takes his precautions, 
Bede. Was he afraid that Mrs. Bede " 

The words were but meant in jest, but 
Frank did not finish them. Bede turned 
from the room with a kind of staggering 
movement, his face blanched, his whole coun- 
tenance livid with some awful terror. Frank 
simply stared after him, unable to say another 
I word. 

" What was that V* cried Mr. Greatorex, 
i looking up at the abrupt silence. 

*^ I don't know," said Frank. " Bede seems 
I moonstruck with that letter he has had. It 

; must contaia tidings of some bother or 

other." 
; " Then rely upon it, it is connected with 

his wife," severely spoke Mr. Greatorex. 

The news relating to the cheque fell upon 
the office hke a clap of thimder. Every clerk 
in it felt uncomfortable, especially those at- 
tached to Mr. Bede's department. The clerk 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 281 

at the bank, who had cashed the cheque, was 
questioned. It had been presented at the 
bank early in the afternoon, about half-past 
one o'clock he said, or between that and two. 
He had not taken notice of the presenter, but 
seemed to remember that he was a tall dark 
man, with black whiskers. Had taken it and 
cashed it quite as a matter of course ; making 
no delay or query; it was a common thing 
for strangers, that is strangers to the bank, 
to present the cheques of Greatorex and 
Greatorex. No ; he had not taken the num- 
ber of the notes, for the best of all possible 
reasons — ^that he had paid it in gold, as re- 
quested. This clerk happened also to be the 
one to whom Sir Richard Yorke's son had pre- 
sented the second cheque ; he spoke to that 
gentleman of the fact of having cashed one 
an hour or two before, exactly similar; but 
Mr. Yorke seemed to intimate that it was all 
right ; in short appeared offended at the sub- 
ject being named to him. 

At present that comprised all the informa- 
tion they possessed. 

It was Mr. Bede Greatorex who made the 
communication to the clerks in his room. He 
was sitting at his desk in the front oflSce when 
they arrived, — ^an unusual circumstance ; and 
when all were assembled and had settled to 



282 BOLAND YOBKK 

their several occupations, then he entered 
upon it. The cheque he had drawn out, as 
they might remember, on the previous morn- 
ing for Sir Richard Yorke, and which he had 
locked up subsequently in his table-desk in 
the other room, had been abstracted from it, 
and cashed at the bank. He spoke in a quiet, 
friendly maimer, just in the same tone he 
might have related it to a friend, not appear- 
ing to cast the least thought of possible sus- 
picion upon any one of them Nevertheless, 
no detective living could have watched their 
several demeaiiours, as they heard it, more 
keenly than did Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

The clerks seemed thimderstruck. Three 
of them gazed at him, unable for the moment 
to shape any reply ; the other biuBt out at 
once. 

" The cheque gone ! Stolen out of the 
desk, and cashed at the bank 1 My goodness 1 
Who took it, sir ?" 

That the words came from nobody but 
Roland, you may be sure. Mr. Bede Great- 
orex went on to give a few explanatory de- 
tails; and Roland's next movement was to 
rush into the adjoining room without asking 
permission, and give a few tugs to the lid of 
the table-desk. Back he clattered in a com- 
motion. 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 283 

And here let it be remarked, en passant, 
that it is somewhat annoying to have to apply- 
so frequently the word " clatter '' to Roland^s 
progress, imparting no doubt a good deal of 
unnecessary sameness. But there is reaUy no 
other graphic expression that can be found to 
describe it. His steps were quick, and the 
soles of his boots made noise enough for 
ten. 

" I say, Mr. Bede Greatorex," he exclaimed, 
"it is no light hand that could Open that 
desk without a key. Fve had experience in 
lifting weights over at Port Natal when help- 
ing to load the ships with coal " 

" Kindly oblige me by making less noise, 
Mr. Yorke/' came the interrupting reproof. 

Which Boland seemed not to heed in the 
least. He tilted himself on to a high stool 
in the middle of the room, his legs dangling, 
just as though he had been at a free-and-easy 
meeting ; and there he sat, staring in conster- 
nation. 

" Will the bank know the fellow again that 
cashed it r 

" My opinion is that the desk was opened 
with a key in the ordinary way," observed 
Mr. Bede Greatorex, referring to a previous 
remark of Boland's, but passing over his pre- 
sent question. 



284 BOLAND YORKR 

" Perhaps you left your keys about T sug- 
gested Roland. 

" I did not leave them about, Mr. Yorke. 
I had them with me." 

'' Well, this is a go ! / say !" he resumed, 
with quite a biuBt of excitement, his eyes 
beaming, his face glowing, " who'll be at the 
loss of the money ? Old Dick Yorke T 

" Ah, that is a nice question," said Bede 
Greatorex. 

" I beg your pardon, sir," interposed Mr. 
Brown, who had been very thoughtful. " Don't 
you think you must be mistaken in supposing 
you put the cheque in the desk ? I could 
understand it all so easily if " 

" I know I put it in my desk, and left it 
there locked up," said Mr. Bede Greatorex, 
stopping the words. " What were you about 
to say ?" 

" If you had carried the cheque out inad- 
vertently, and dropped it in the street," con- 
cluded Mr. Brown, " it would have been quite 
^asy to understand then. Some unprincipled 
man might have picked it up, and made off 
at once to the bank with it, hazarding the 
risk." 

" But I did nothing of the sort," said Bede : 
and Mr. Brown shook his head, as if he were 
hard of conviction. 



COMMOTION IN THE OFFICE. 285" 

" Of course there's not much difference in 
the degree of guilt, but many a man who 
would not for the world touch a locked desk 
might appropriate a picked-up cheque, sir/' 

" I tell you, the cheque was taken from my 
desk," reiterated Mr. Bede Greatorex, slightly 
irritated at the persistency. 

" Well, sir, then all I can say is, that it is 
an exceedingly disagreeable thing for every 
one of us^," said the head-clerk. 

" I do not wish to imply that it is," said 
Bede Greatorex. "Mr. Yorke, allow me to 
suggest that sitting on that stool will not do 
your work." 

" I hope old Dick will be the one to lose 
it I" cried Eoland, with fervour, as he quitted 
the stool for his place by Mr. Hurst. " Forty- 
four poimds ! it's stunning. He's the meanest 
old chap alive,, Mr. Greatorex. I'd almost 
have taken it myself from him." 

" Did you take it ?" questioned Hurst in a 
whisper. 

" What's that ?" retorted Eoland. 

He faced Hurst as he spoke, waiting for a 
reply. All in a moment the proud counte- 
nance and bearing changed. The face fell, 
the clear eyes looked away, the brow became 
suffiised with crimson. Hurst saw the signs, 
and felt sorry for what he had said ; had said 



286 EOLAND YOR^K 

in thoughtlessness rather than m any real 
meaning. For he knew that it had recalled 
to Roland Yorke a terrible escapade of his 
earlier life. 



CHAPTEE XIIL 

TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 

*' It will stick in my gizzard for ever. I can 
see that. An awful clog, it is, when a fellow 
has dropped into mischief once in his life, and 
repented and atoned for it, that it must be 
cast in his teeth always ; cropping up at any 
hour, like a dead donkey in the Thames ; I 
might as well have stayed at Port Natal !" 

Such was the inward soliloquy of Mr. 
Roland Yorke as he bent over his writing 
after that overwhelming question of Hurst's, 
" Did you take it ?" Hurst, reaUy grieved at 
having hurt his feelings, strove to smooth 
away what he had said. 

" I beg your pardon, old feUow,'' he whis^ 
pered. "On my honour I spoke without 
thought." 

I dare say you did !" retorted Boland. 
I meant no harm, Boland; I did not 
indeed. Nothing connected with the past 
occurred to me." 






288 ROLAND YORKE. 

" You know it did,' was the answer, and 
Roland turned his grieved fewje fiill on Hurst. 
"You know you wanted to bring up that 
miserable time when I stole the twenty-pound 
note from old Galloway, and let the blame of 
it fall on Arthur Channing. Because I took 
that, you think I have taken this 1" 

" Hush ! You'll have them hear you, 
Yorke." 

" That's what you want. Why don't you 
go and tell them ?" demanded Roland, who 
was working himself into a passion. " Pro- 
claim it aloud. Ring the bell, as the town- 
crier does at home on a market-day. Call 
Greatorex and Brown and Jenner up from 
their desks. Where's the good of taunting 
me in private ?" 

Hurst kept his head down and wrote on in 
silence, hopiag to allay the storm he had in- 
advertently provoked. In spite of his protes- 
tations, he Iwd spoken in reference to that 
past transaction, and the tone showed the 
truth to Roland; but still he had spoken 
thoughtlessly. Roland, as he believed, was 
no more guilty of this present loss than he 
himself was ; and he felt inclined to clip his 
tongue out for its haste. 

Pushing his hair from his hot face, biting^ 
his lips, drawing deep breaths in his anger 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 289 

and emotion, stood Eoland. Presently the 
pen was dashed down on the parchment before 
him, blotting it and defacing it for use, but of 
course that went for nothing, and Roland 
stalked to the desk of Mr. Bede Greatorex. 

" I wish to say, sir, that I did not steal the 
cheque." 

The words took Mr. Bede Greatorex by 
surprise. But he had by this time become 
pretty well acquainted with Roland and his 
impulsive ways ; he liked him in spite of his 
faults as a clerk ; otherwise he would never 
have put up with them. A pleasant smile 
crossed his hps a^ he answered ; answered 
in jest. 

" You know the old French proverb, I dare 
say, Mr. Yorke : ^ Qui s'excuse s'acciise' T 

RolaQd made nothing of French at the best 
of times : at such as these, every pulse within 
him agitated to paia, it was about as intelli- 
gible as Hebrew. But, had he understood 
every word of the joking implication, he could 
not have responded with more passionate 
earnestness. 

** I did not touch the cheque, sir ; I swear 
it. I never saw it after you took it from this 
room, or knew where you put it, or anything. 
It never once came into my thoughts." 

" But why do you trouble yourself to say 

VOL. L Vi 



290 BOLAND YORKE. 

this?" asked Mr. Bede Greatorex, speaking 
seriously when he noticed the anxious tone, 
the emotion accompanying the denial. " No 
one thought of supposing you had taken it/' 

" Hurst did, sir. He accused me." 

Hurst, in his vexation, pushed his work 
from him in a heap. Of all living mortals^ 
surely Roland was the simplest ! he had no 
more tact than a child. Mr. Bede Greatorex 
looked from one to the other. 

" I did nothing of the kind," said Hurst, 
speaking quietly. " The fact is, Eoland 
Yorke can't take a joke. When he made 
that remark about his uncle. Sir Eichard, I said 
to him * Did you take the cheque ?' speaking 
in jest of course ; and he caught up the ques- 
tion as serious." 

" There, go to your place, Mr. Yorke," said 
Bede. 

" I'd not do such a thing as touch a cheque 
for the world ; or any other money that was 
not mine : no, not though it did belong to 
old Dick Yorke," earnestly reiterated Roland, 
keeping his groimd. 

" Of course you would not. Don^t be 
foolish, Mr. Yorke." 

" You believe me, I hope, sir." 
"Certainly. Do go to your desk. I am 
busy." 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 291 

Roland went back to it now, his face 
brighter. And Bede Greatorex thought with 
a smile how Uke a boy he was, in spite of his 
eight-and-twenty years, and his travels in 
Port NataL These single-minded natures 
never grow old, or wise in the world's ways. 

Another minute, and a stranger had entered 
the office. And yet, not quite a stranger ; for 
Bede Greatorex had seen him some few years 
before, and Hurst and Roland Yorke knew 
hiTn at once. It was Mr. Butterby ; more wiry 
than he used to be, more observant about the 
keen eyes. He had come in reference to the 
loss of the cheque, and saluted Mr. Bede 
Greatorex : who looked sxuprised and not best 
pleased to see him. Jelf, the officer expected, 
was a man in whom Bede had confidence ; of 
this one's skiU he knew nothing. 

" It was Sergeant Jelf whom we desired to 
see," said Bede, speaking with curt sharpness. 
It was," amicably replied Mr. Butterby. 
Jelf got a telegram this morning, and had to 
go off imexpected. I'm taking his place for a 
bit." 

" Have you changed your abode from Hels- 
tonleigh to London ?" 

"Only tempory. My head-quarters is 
always at Helstonleigh. And now about this 
matter, Mr. Bede Greatorex ?" 



4C 



292 ROLAND YORKE. 

" I think we need not trouble yoiL It can 
wait until Sergeant Jelf retiuns." 

" It might have to wait some time then,*^ 
was Mr. Butterby's answer. "Jelf is off to- 
Rooshia first ; St. Petersburgh ; and it's haxd 
to say how long he'll stay there or where lie 
may have to go to next. It's all right, sir ; 
I've been for this ten minutes with Mr. 
Greatorex, have learnt the particulars of the 
case, and got Ids instructions." 

Bede Greatorex bit his Up. This man, asso- 
ciated in his mind with that past trouble — ^the 
death of John OUivera, who had been so dear 
to him, who was so bitterly regretted still — 
was rather distasteful to Bede than otherwise, 
and for certain other reasons he would have 
preferred Jelf. There seemed however no help 
for it, as his father had given the man his in-^ 
structions. 

Mr. Butterby turned his attention on the 
clerks. As a preliminary step to proceedings, 
he peered at them one by one under his eye- 
brows, while apparently studying the maps on 
the walls. Hiu*st favoiu*ed him with a civil 
nod. 

" How d'ye do, Butterby V said Roland 
Yorke. "You don't get much fatter, But- 
terby." 

Mr. Butterby's answer to this was to stare 



TAKING THE PLACE OP JELP. 293 

«tt Roland for a full minute ; as if lie could not 
believe his own eyes at seeing him there. 

" That looks like Mr. Roland Yorke !" 

"And it is him/' said Roland. " He is a 
clerk here. Now then, Butterby !" 

" I beg to state that I have full confidence 
in all my clerks/' interposed Mr. Bede Greato- 
rex. 

" Just so/' acquiesced the detective. " Mr. 
Greatorex senior thinks the same. But it is 
requisite that I should put a few questions to 
them, for all that. I can't see my way clear 
until I shall have ascertained the movements 
of every individual clerk this house employs, 
from the time the cheque was put into your 
desk yesterday, sir. And I mean to do it," he 
concluded with equable composure. 

He was proceeding to examine the clerks, 
holding a worn note-book in his hand to pencil 
down any answer that might strike him, when 
Bede Greatorex again interposed, conscious 
that this might be looked upon by some of 
them as an unpardonable indignity. 

" I cannot think this necessary, Mr. But- 
terby. We place every confidence in our 
clerks ; I repeat it emphatically. Mr. Brown 
and Mr. Jenner have been with me for some 
years now; Mr. Hurst and Mr. Yorke are 
gentlemen." 



294 BOLAND YORKE. 

"/ know who they two are; knew them 
long before you did, sir; and their fathers too. 
Dr. Yorke, the late prebendary, put some busi- 
ness into my hands once. But now, just leave 
this matter with me, Mr. Bede Greatorex. 
Your father has done me the honour to leave 
it in my hands ; and, excuse me for saying it, 
so must you. All these four, now present to 
hear you mention their names with respect, 
understand just as weU that what I do is an 
ordinary matter of form the law's officers re- 
quire to be gone through, as if I paid 'em the 
compliment to say so." 

"Oh, very weU," said Bede, acquiescing 
more cheerfully. "Step in to my private 
room with me for a moment first, Mr. But- 
terby." 

He held the door open as he spoke; but, 
before the officer could turn to it, Mr. Greato- 
rex came in. Bede shut the door again, and 
nodded to Mr. Butterby as much as to say, 
" Never mind now." 

And so the questioning of the clerks began. 
Mr. Greatorex stayed for a short while to 
listen to it, and talked to them all in a 
friendly manner, as if to show that the proce- 
dure was not instituted in consequence of any 
particular suspicion, rather as an investigation 
in which the house, masters and clerks, were 



TAKING THE PLACE OP JELF. 295 

alike interested. The head-clerk went on with 
his work during the investigation as calmly as 
if Mr. Butterby had been a simple client ; the 
questions put to him, as to his own move- 
ments on the previous day, he answered 
quietly, calmly, and satisfactorily. Roland 
never wrote a single line during the whole 
time; he did nothing but stare; and made 
connnents with his usual freedom. When his 
turn came to receive the officer's polite atten- 
tion, he exploded a little and gave very inso- 
lent retorts, out of what Mr. Butterby saw 
was sheer contrariness. 

The inquiry narrowed itself to this side of 
^the house; the rest of the clerks being able to 
prove, individually, that they had not been 
near Mr. Bede's room during the suspicious 
hours on the previous day. Whereas it ap- 
peared, after some considerable sifting, that 
each one of these four could have entered it at 
will, and unseen. What with the intervening 
dinner-hour, and simdry out-door commissions, 
every one of them had been left alone in the 
office separately for a greater or less period of 
time. It also came out that, with the excep- 
tion of Jenner, each had been away from the 
office quite long enough to go to the bank 
with the cheque, or to send it and secure the 
money. Roland Yorke, taking French leave, 



296 ROLAND YORKE. 

had stayed a good hour and a quarter at his 
dinner, having departed for it at a quarter 
past one. Mr. Brown had been out on busi- 
ness for the house from one till half-past t^v-o ; 
and Mr. Hurst, who went to the stamp office, 
was away nearly as long. In point of fact, 
the chief office-keeper had been Uttle Jenner, 
who came back from dinner at half-past one. 

" And now," said the detective, after put- 
ting up the pocket-book, in which he had pen- 
cilled various of the above items of intelli- 
gence, " I should like to get a look at this 
desk of yours, Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

Bede led the way to his room and shut him- 
self in with the detective. While apparently 
taking no notice whatever of the questions 
put to his clerks, keeping his head bent over 
some papers as if his very life depended on 
their perusal, he had in reahty listened keenly 
to the answers of all. Handing over the key 
of his table-desk, he allowed the officer to ex- 
amine it at will, and waited. He then sat 
down in his own handsome chair of green 
patent leather and motioned the other to a 
seat opposite. 

" Mr. Butterby, I do not wish any further 
stir made in this business.'' 

Had Mr. Butterby received a cannon-ball 
on his head he could scarcely have experienced 



TAKING THE PLACE OP JELP. 297 

a greater shock of surprise, and for once made 
no reply. Bede Greatorex calmly repeated 
his injunction, in answer to the perplexed gaze 
cast on him. He wished nothing more done 
in the matter. 

" What on earth for T cried Mr. Butterby. 

" I shall have to repose some confidence in 
you/' pursued Mr. Bede Greatorex. " It will 
be safe, I presume ?" 

Butterby quite laughed at the question. 
Safe ! With him ! It certainly would be. If 
the world only knew the secrets he held in his 
bosom ! 

" And yet I can but trust you partiaQy," 
resumed Bede Greatorex. " Not for my own 
sake ; I have nothing to conceal, and should 
like things fiilly investigated; but for the 
sake of my father and family generally. Up 
to early post-time this morning I was more 
anxious for Jelf, that he might take the loss 
in hand, than ever my father was." 

Bede Greatorex paused. But there came 
no answering remark from his attentive lis- 
tener, and he went on again. 

" I received a private note by this morning's 
post which altered the aspect of things, and 
gave me a clue to the real taker of the cheque. 
Only a very faint clue : a suspicion rather ; 
and, that, vague and uncertain : but enough 



9r 
if 



298 ROLAND YORKE. 

to cause me, in tlie doubt, to let the matter 
drop. In fex5t there is no choice left for me. 
We must put up with the loss of the money/' 

Mr. Butterby sat with his hands on hii^ 
knees, a favourite attitude of his ; his head 
bent a Uttle forwards, his eyes fixed on the 
speaker. 

** I don't quite take you, Mr. Greatorex, 
said he. " You must speak out more plaLoly. 

Bede Greatorex paused in hesitation. This 
commimication was distasteful, however ne- 
cessary he might deem it, and he felt a&aid 
of letting a dangerous word sUp inadvertently* 

" The letter was obscure," he slowly said, 
" but, if I understand it aright, the proceeds 
of the cheque have found their way into the 
hands of one whom neither my father nor I 
would prosecute. To do so would bring great 
pain upon us both, perhaps injury. The pain 
to my father would be such that I dare not 
show him the letter, or teU him I have re- 
ceived it. For his sake, Mr. Butterby, you 
and I must both hush the matter up." 

Mr. Butterby felt very much at sea. A 
silent man by nature and habit, he sat still 
yet, and listened for more. 

" There will be no difficulty, I presume ?" 

" Let us understand each other, sir. If I 
take your meaning correctly, it is this. Some- 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 29^ 

body is mixed up in tlie affair whose name it 
won't do to bring to light. One of the family, 
I suppose V 

Mr. Butterby had to wait for an answer. 
Bede Greatorex paused ere he gave it. 

" If not an actual member of the family, it 
is one so nearly connected with it, that he may 
almost be called such." 

" It's a man, then ?" 

" It is a man. Will you work with me in 
this, so as to keep suspicion from my father ? 
Tacitly let him think you are doing what you 
can to investigate the affair. When no result 
is brought forth, he will suppose you have 
been unsuccessful." 

" Of course, sir, if you teU me I am not to 
go on with it, why I won't, and it is at an end. 
Law bless me ! Lots of things are put into our 
hands one day; and, the next, the family 
comes and says. Hush 'em up." 

" So far good, Mr. Butterby. But now, I 
wish you, for my own satisfaction, to make 
some private investigation into it. Quite se-^ 
cretly, you understand : and if you can learn 
anything as to the thief, bring the news quietly 
to me." 

Mr. Butterby thought this was about as 
complete a contradiction to what had gone 
before as it had been ever his lot to hear. He 



300 ROLAND YORKE. 

took refiige in his silent gaze and waited. 
Bede Greatorex put his elbow on the table 
and his hand to his head as he spoke. 

" If I were able to confide to you the whole 
case, Mr. Butterby, you would see how en- 
tirely it is encompassed with doubts and diffi- 
culties. I have reason to fancy that the pur- 
loiner of the cheque out of this desk must 
have been one of the clerks in my room. I 
think this for two reasons ; one is, that I don't 
see how anybody else could have had access 
to it." 

"But, sir, you stood it out to their faces 
just now that you did not suspect them." 

" Because it wiU not do for them to know 
that I do. I assure you, Mr. Butterby, this 
is a most delicate and dangerous aflfeir. I 
wish to my heart it had never happened." 

" Do you mean that the clerk, in taking it 
— if he did take it — was acting as the agent 
of some other party ?" 

Bede Greatorex nodded. " Yes, only 
that." 

" But tJictt's enough to transport him, you 
know," cried Butterby, slightly losing the 
drifb of the argimient. 

" If we could bring him to book, yes. But 
that must not be done. I doii!t see who else 
it could have been," added Bede, communing 



TAKING THE PLACE OP JELP. 301 

with himself rather than addressing Mr. But- 
terby ; and his face wore a strangely perplexed 
look. 

"CoTild any of the household — ^the maid- 
servants, for instance — ^get into this here 
room T asked Mr. Butterby. 

" There's not one of them would dare to 
risk it in the day-time. They are in the other 
house. No, no ; I fear we must look to one 
of the young men in the next room." 

Mr. Butterby nodded with satisfaction : 
matters seemed to be taking a more reason- 
able turn. 

" Let's see ; there's four of them," he began^ 
beginning to tell the clerks off on his fingers. 
" The manager, Brown, confidential, you said,, 
I think " 

"I did not say confidential," interrupted 
Bede Greatorex. ^* I said we placed great 
confidence in him. There's a distinction, Mr. 
Butterby." 

" Of course. Then there's the little man^ 
Jenner; and the others. Hurst and Yorke. 
Have you any doubt yourself as to any one 
of them ?" quickly asked Mr. Butterby, look- 
ing full at the lawyer. 

Bede Greatorex hesitated. " I cannot say 
I have. It would be so wrong, you know, to 
cast a doubt on either, when there is not suf- 



302 BOLAND YORKE. 

ficient caiise; nothing but what may be a 
passing, foundationless fancy." 

" Speak out, Mr. Bede Greatorex, It's 
all in the day's work. If there is really no- 
thing, it won't hurt him ; if there is, I may 
be able to follow it up. Perhaps it's one of 
the two gentlemen ?" 

" If it be any one of the four. Mr. Hurst." 

The detective so far forgot his good manners 
as to break into a low whistle. 

" Mr. Hurst ! or Mr. Yorke, do you mean?" 
he cried, in his surprise. 

"Not Mr. Yorke, certainly. Why should 
you think of him ?" 

" Oh, for nothing," carelessly answered But- 
terby. " Hurst seems an upright young man. 



sir." 



It is so trifling a doubt I have of him, the 
lifting of a straw, as may be said, that I should 
be sorry to think he is not upright. Still, I 
have reason for deciding that he is the most 
likely, of the four, for doubt to attach to." 

At that moment, the gentleman in question 
interrupted them — Josiah Hurst ; bringing a 
message to Mr. Bede Greatorex. An import- 
ant client was waiting to see him. Mr. But- 
terby took a more curious look at the young 
man's countenance than he had ever done in 
the old days at Helstonleigh. 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 303 

" The lawyer's wrong/' thought he to him- 
self. " He is no thiever of cheques, he 
isnt. 

^^ I shaU be at liberty in one minute, Mr. 
Hurst. Shut the door. You understand T 
he added in a low tone to the detective, as 
they stood up together in parting. " All that 
I have said to you must be kept secret ; 
doubly secret from my father. He must sup- 
pose you at work, investigating ; whereas, in 
point of fact, the thing must drop. Only, if 
you can gain any private information, bring it 
to me.'' 

Mr. Butterby answered by one of his em- 
phatic nods. " You see there's nothing come 
up yet about that other thing," he said. 

" What other thing ?" 

'' The death of Mr. OlHvera." 

" And not likely to," returned Bede Greato- 
rex. " That was over and done with at the 
time." 

"Just my opinion," said the detective. 
" Jenner was his clerk in chambers." 

" Yes. A faithftd Uttle feUow." 

"Looks it. Who's the other one — ^Mr. 
Brown ?" 

" I can only tell you that he is Mr. Brown ; 
I know nothing of his famUy. We have had 
him three or four years." 



304 KOLAND YORKR 

" Had a good cliaracter with him, I suppose? 
Ejiew where he'd been, and all that ?" 

"Undoubtedly. My father is particular. 
Why do you ask ?" 

" Only because he is the only one iq your 
room that I don't know something of. Gk)od 
morning, Mr. Bede Greatorex." 

Bede shut the door, and Mr. Butterby 
walked away, observing things indoors and 
out with a keen eye, while he ruminated on 
what he had heard. Simdry reports, con- 
nected with the domestic life of Bede Great- 
orex, were familiar to his comprehensive 
ears. 

" It's a rum go, this," quoth he, making his 
comments. " He meant his wife, he did ; Td 
a great mind to say so. Hush it up ? of course 
they must. And Madam keeps the forty-four 
pounds. But now — does he suspect it might 
have been one of the clerks helped her to it, 
or was it only a genteel way of stopping my 
questions as to how the ^member of the family* 
could have got iadoors to the desk? She 
grabbed his key, she did, and took out the 
cheque herself: leastways I should say so. 
Stop a bit, though. Who cashed it at the 
bank ? Perhaps one of 'em did help her. 
'T wasn't Hurst, I know ; nor Uttle Jenner, 
either. Don't think it was young Yorke, in 



TAKING THE PLACE OP JELP. 305 

spite of that old affair at Galloway's. T'other, 
Brown, I don't know. Any way," concluded Mr. 
Butterby,liis thoughts recurring to BedeGreat- 
orex, and his wife, " he has got his torment in 
her ; and he shows it. Never saw a man so 
altered in all my life : looks, spirits, manners : 
it's just as though there was a blight upon him." 

That the presence of the police-agent in the 
office had not been agreeable to the clerks, 
will be readily understood. It had to be ac- 
cepted for an evil ; as other evils must be for 
which there is no help. Roland Yorke felt 
inclined to resent it openly, and thought the 
fates were against him still, as they had been 
at Port Natal. What with that unlucky 
question of Hurst's and the appearance of 
Butterby on the scene, both recalling the 
miserable escapade of years ago that he would 
give all the world to forget, Roland, alike 
hot-headed and hot-hearted, was in a state 
of mind to do any mad thing that came upper- 
most. And the morning wore away. 

" Why don't you go to dinner, Mr. Yorke ?'* 

The question came from the manager. Ro- 
land in his perplexity of mind and feelings, 
had imconsciously let the usual time slip by. 
Catching up his hat, he tore through the 
street at speed imtil he reached the bank, 
into which he went with a burst. 

VOL. I. "iS^ 



306 BOLAND YORKE. 

" I want to see one of tlie principals." 

What with the haste, the imperative de- 
mand, and the imposing stature and air, 
Koland was at once attended to, and a gentle- 
man, nearly as little as Jenner, came forward. 

" Look here," said Boland " Just you bring^ 
me fece to feuje with the feUow who cashed 
that cheque yesterday. The clerk, you know. " 

" Which cheque ?" came the very natural 
question fix)m the little gentleman, as he gazed 
at the appUcant. 

" The one there's all this shindy over at 
Greatorex and Greatorex's. Drawn out in 
favour of old Dick Yorke." 

Of course it was not precisely the way to 
go about things. Before Roland's request 
was complied with, a little information was 
requested as to what his business might be, 
and who he was. 

"I am Mr. Roland Yorke." 

" Any relation to Sir Richard Yorke V 

"His nephew by blood; none at all by 
Mendliness. Old Dick — ^but never mind him 
now. If you'll let me see the clerk, sir, you 
will hear what I want with him." 

The clerk, standing at elbow behind the 
counter, had heard the coUoquy. Roland 
dashed up to him so impulsively that the little 
gentleman coujd with diflGlculty keep pace. 



TAKING THE PLACE OP JELP. 307 

" Now, then/' began Roland to tlie wonder- 
ing clerk, ^^ look at me — ^look welL Am I the 
man who presented that cheque yesterday V 

"No, sir, certainly not," was the clerk's 
reply. " There's not the least resemblance." 

" Very good," said Roland, a little calming 
down from his fierceness. " I thought it well 
to come and let you see me ; that's all." 

" But why so ?" asked the principal, think- 
ing Sir Richard Yorke's nephew, though a 
fine man, must be rather an eccentric one. 

" Why ! why, because I am in Bede Great- 
orex's office, and we've had a policeman 
amongst us this morning, looking us up. They 
say the cheque was brought here by a tall 
fellow with black whiskers. As that descrip- 
tion applies to me, and to none of the others, 
I thought I'd come and let you see me. That's 
all. Good morning." 

Dashing out in the same conmiotion that he 
had entered, Roland, still neglecting his dinner, 
went skimming back to the house of Greatorex 
and Greatorex. Not to enter the office, but 
to pay a visit to Mrs. Bede's side of it. 

Not very long before this hour, Mr. Bede 
Greatorex, all the cares of his business on his 
shoulders, not the least of them (taking it in 
all its relations) being the new one connected 
with the abstracted cheque, went up stairs for 

20—2. 



308 ROLAND YORKE. 

luncheon and a few minutes' relaxation. He 
found his wife full of hefi* cares. Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex had cards out for that afternoon, 
bidding the great world to a Kettle-drum; 
and she was calculating what quantity of ices 
and strawberries to order in, with sundry 
other momentous questions. 

The rooms were turned upside-down. A 
vast crowd was expected, and small articles 
of impeding furniture, holding fragile orna- 
ments, were being put out of the way, lest 
they shoTild come to grief in the turmoiL 

" Yes, that quantity of ice will be sufficient; 
and be sure take care that you have an abun- 
dance of strawberries," concluded Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex to the attendant, who had been re- 
ceiving her orders. " Chocolate ? Of course. 
Where's the use of asking senseless questions ? 
Bede," she added, seeing her husband stand- 
ing there, " I know how you detest the smell 
of chocolate, saying it makes you as sick as a 
dog, and brings on headaches ; but I cannot 
dispense with it in my rooms. Other people 
give it, and so must I." 

"Give what you like," he said wearily. 
" What is it you are going to hold ? A ball?" 

"A ball in the afternoon! Well done, 
Bede ! It's a drum." 

" The house is never free from disturbance. 



TAKING THE PLACE OF JELF. 309 

Louisa/' he rejoined, as a man pushed by 
with a table. 

"You should let me live away from it. 
And then you'd not smell the chocolate. And 
the doors woTild not be impeded for ever with 
carriages, as you grumble they are. With a 
house in Hyde Park " 

" Hush 1" said Bede in a whisper. " What 
did I tell you the other day ? — That our ex- 
penses are so large, I could not live elsewhere 
if I woTild. Don't wear me out with this 
everlasting theme, Louisa." 

It was not precisely the hearth for a man, 
oppressed with the world's troubles, to find 
refuge in ; neither was she the wife. Bede 
sighed in very weariness, and tiuned to go 
away, thinking how welcome to him, if he 
coTild \>nt get transplanted to it, woTild be the 
comer of some far-off desert, never before 
trodden by the foot of man. 

A great noise on the stairs, as if a coach- 
and-six were coming up in fierce commotion, 
followed by a smart knocking at the room 
door. Bede turned to escape, thinking it 
might possibly be the advance guard of the 
Drum. Nobody but Mr. Roland Yorke. And 
Roland (who had come up on a vain search 
after Miss Channing) seeing his master there, 
at once began to tell of where he had just 



310 ROLAND YOBKE. 

been and for what purpose. To keep his own 
counsel on any matter whatever, would have 
been extremely difficult to Boland. 

" It is said, you know, Mr. Bede Greatorex, 
that the man, who cashed the cheque and got 
the money, was a tall fellow with black whis- 
kers ; so I thought it well to go and show 
myself. . I am taQ," drawing up his head; 
" I've got black whiskers," pushing one side 
forward with his hand ; " and nobody else in 
yoTu: room answered to the description." 

" It was very unnecessary, Mr. Yorka You 
were in Port Natal." 

" In Port Natal 1" echoed Boland, staring. 
'' What has Port Natal to do with this ?" 

Bede Greatorex slightly laughed. In his 
self-absorption, he had suffered his mind to 
run on other things. 

" As to unnecessary — I don't think so, after 
what that ill-natured HTurst said. And per- 
haps you'd not, sir, if you knew all," added 
simple Roland, thinking of Mr. Galloway's 
bank-note. " Any way, I have been to the 
bank to show myself" 

" What did the bank say to you?" questioned 
Bede Greatorex, his tone one of light jest. 

" The bank said I was not in the least like 
the fellow ; he was tall, but not as tall as me, 
and they are nearly sure he had a beard as 
"weU as whiskers. 1 ^o\5i^^ I'd -tell you, sir." 



TAKING THE PLACE OP JELF. 311 

Mrs. Bede Greatorex, listening to tliis with 
curious ears, enquired what the trouble was, 
and heard for the first time of the loss of the 
cheque, the probable loss of the forty-four 
pounds. Had Mr. Butterby been present to 
mark her surprise, he might have put away his 
opinion that she was the recipient alluded to by 
Bede Greatorex, and perhaps have mentally 
begged her pardon for the mistaken thought. 

"Will you come to my kettle-drum, Mr. 
Koland r 

" No, I won't," said Eoland. " Thank you 
all the same," he added a minute after, as if 
to atone for the bluntness of the reply. " I've 
been put out to-day uncommonly, Mrs. Bede 
Greatorex ; and when a feUow is, he does not 
care for drums and kettles." 

However, when the Kettle-dnma was in fuU 
swing about five o'clock in the afternoon, and 
the stairs were crowded with talkers and 
trains, Roland, thinking better of it, elbowed 
his way up amidst. People who did not 
know him, thought he must be from the Court 
at least ; the Lord Chamberlain, or some such 
great man, for Roland had a way of holding 
his own and tacitly asserting himself, like no- 
body else. He caught sight of Gerald, who 
averted his head at once ; he saw Mrs. Hamish ■ 

Channing, and she was the only guest he 
talked to. Roland was agaixi Vqq^ksc^ Ssst- 



312 ROLAND YORKE. 

AnnabeL He fomid her presently in the re- 
freshment room, seeing that Miss Jane did not 
make herself ill vdth strawberries and cream. 

Into her ear, very much as though it had 
been a rock of refuge, Eoland confided his 
^\Tongs : Mr. Hurst's semi-accusation of him 
in regard to the loss, his errand to the bank, 
and in short all the events of the morning. 

" I couldn't have done it by him" saM Ro- 
land. " Had he made a fool of himself when 
he was yoimg and wicked, I could no more have 
flung it in his teeth in after-years, to twist his 
feelings, than I coTild twist yours, Annabel. 
When I Ve been repenting of the mad act 
ever since ; never going to my bed at night 
or rising in the morning, without thinking of 
it and — dashing it : but I was going to say 
another word : and hoping and planning how 
best to recompense every soul that suffered by 
it ! It was too bad of him.'' 

" Yes it was," warmly answered Annabel, 
her cheeks flushing with the earnestness of 
her sympathy. " Roland, I never liked that 
Josiah Hurst." 



BNB OF VOL. L 



BILUNO, PBIKTSa, GUILDFOBD.